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Boss of devastated Azovstal plant: ‘Steel is as key to Ukraine’s victory as soldiers’

By Jasper Jolly

01 Jun 2022 · 4 min read

The Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol has become one of the symbols of the brutality of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Soldiers held out for weeks in the warren of tunnels, warehouses and cooling blast furnaces as they and hundreds of civilians sheltering with them were encircled and eventually forced to surrender.

The site produced 40% of Ukraine’s entire steel output and was the key asset of the country’s biggest pre-war employer, Metinvest. Now its owner has an important role to play in the parallel battle to sustain the economy via its other plants outside occupied territory, according to its chief executive, Yuriy Ryzhenkov.

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