Russia was accused of “stealing and “looting” £500m worth of steel bound for customers in Europe, including in the UK, by the chief of Ukraine’s biggest steel company.
Metinvest CEO Yuriy Ryzhenkov said the steel, some bound for the UK, was being stolen from plants and ports in Ukraine and transferred to Russia to be sold, according to the BBC.
Thousands of tonnes of steel had been paid for by UK and other European customers. “What they’re doing is basically looting. They’re stealing not only our products, but also some of those products that already belong to the European customers,” Ryzhenkov told the BBC. “So basically, they’re not only stealing from us, they’re stealing from the Europeans as well.”
The Kremlin did not immediately respond to City A.M.’s request for comment.
Ryzhenkov claimed that public sources and Metinvest informants said the steel was being transferred to Russia and sold in the country or to African and Asian countries. Metinvest is documenting as much of the theft as it can and preparing for legal action, he said.
“At some point in time, the Russians will be facing not only the international courts, but also the criminal courts. And we will be going after them with anything we have,” he stated.
Metinvest owns the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, where the company is also headquartered. Russian forces took control of the city in May after an extensive assault. Ryzhenkov said hundreds of people were killed in the assault on the plant, which along with its sister plant Ilyich accounted for 40 per cent of Ukraine steel production.
Russia invaded Ukraine in February and launched a major assault on the country. The BBC also reported that it had evidence of Russian forces stealing grain from Ukraine’s occupied areas.