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One of Europe’s largest steel plants damaged during Russian siege of Mariupol

The Azovstal metallurgical plant is seen on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, on February 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
The Azovstal metallurgical plant is seen on the outskirts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, on February 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

One of Europe’s biggest iron and steel works, Azovstal, is badly damaged as Russian forces lay siege to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, officials say.  

“One of the biggest metallurgic plants in #Europe destroyed. The economic losses for #Ukraine are huge. The environment is devastated,” tweets Ukrainian lawmaker Lesia Vasylenko. 

Vasylenko posts a video of explosions on an industrial site, with thick columns of grey and black smoke rising from the buildings. 

One of her colleagues, Serhiy Taruta, writes on Facebook that Russian forces “had practically destroyed the factory.”

“We will return to the city, rebuild the enterprise and revive it,” Azovstal’s director general Enver Tskitishvili writes on messaging app Telegram, without specifying the extent of the damage. 

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 Russian troops of committing “crimes against humanity against Ukrainians.”

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