Russia is exporting steel from the seized Azovstal plant and its neighboring metallurgical plant, said Yury Ryzhenkov, general director of the Ukrainian company Metinvest. This is reported by the Russian service of the BBC. According to Ryzhenkov, the total amount of the loot reaches $600 million. The Metinvest company, which owns the plant and the combine, is owned by the largest Ukrainian businessmen Rinat Akhmetov and Vadim Novinsky.
According to Ryzhenkov, thousands of tons of steel had already been paid for by European customers before the Russian attack on Ukraine and the occupation of Mariupol. Further, the Russians ship these products to the Russian Federation and sell them on domestic markets, as well as to countries in Africa and Asia, Ryzhenkov says, citing company sources.
In May 2022, US intelligence reported that Uralvagonzavod, the largest Russian tank manufacturer, was in need of steel, experiencing an acute shortage of raw materials. The largest steel producer in Russia is the enterprises of the Evraz group of companies of Roman Abramovich, they have been successfully supplying the Russian army for about 10 years. In Ukraine, 40% of all metallurgical production was accounted for by Azovstal and the Akhmetov plant.
On June 27, it became known that Rinat Akhmetov filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights because of the seizure of Azovstal. He is demanding compensation for gross violations of his property rights in Mariupol during the war. The lawsuit also requires urgent measures to be taken to prevent blockades, looting, diversion and destruction by Russia of grain and steel produced by the businessman's enterprises. The exact amount of compensation has not yet been determined, but we are talking about billions of dollars, according to his SCM holding.
Russia exports from Ukraine not only steel, but also grain. According to the estimates of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, since the beginning of the war, Russia has stolen and exported at least 400,000 tons of Ukrainian grain. Turkey buys the stolen grain from Russia. Also, a significant part of the stolen grain is transported across the Mediterranean on bulk carriers flying Russian flags to Syria. From there, the grain can be smuggled to the countries of the Middle East.