One of Europe’s largest iron and steel works, Azovstal, was badly damaged as Russian troops besieged the port city of Mariupol in Ukraine, officials said Sunday.
“One of the largest metallurgical plants in #Europe was destroyed. The economic losses for #Ukraine were huge. The environment was destroyed,” tweeted Ukrainian parliamentarian Lesia Vasylenko.
Vasylenko posted a video of the explosion at the industrial site, with thick columns of gray and black smoke rising from the building.
– Lesia Vasylenko (@lesiavasylenko) March 19, 2022
One of his friends, Serhiy Taruta, wrote on Facebook that the Russian army “has practically destroyed the plant”.
“We will go back to the city, rebuild the enterprise and restore it,” Azovstal director general Enver Tskitishvili said on the Telegram messaging app, without specifying the extent of the damage.
He said that when the encroachment began on February 24, the factory had taken steps to reduce environmental damage if violated.
“Coke oven batteries no longer pose a danger to the lives of the people,” he wrote. “We have also stopped the blast furnace properly.”
Azovstal is part of the Metinvest group, which is controlled by Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov.
Considered pro-Moscow before the war began, Akhmetov has since accused the Russian military of committing “crimes against humanity against Ukrainians”.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)