On 24 February 2022, the Russian military aggression against Ukraine began. Much of the fighting has taken place in Mariupol, which is currently under Russian occupation. On the first day of the war, metallurgical products produced at Metinvest Group’s Azovstal and Ilyich Steel iron and steel plants were in the port of Mariupol. These steel products were to be exported to buyers from various countries, including Spain, Italy, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and Turkey.
At the time of the military invasion, several commercial vessels were in the waters of the port of Mariupol: SMARTA (Liberia), AZOV CONCORD (Malta), AZBURG (Dominica), TZAREVNA (Malta), BLUE STAR I (Panama) and LADY AUGUSTA. They had already been loaded with 28,000 tonnes of steel. There is a high risk that the aggressor will use these vessels to steal and smuggle metallurgical products belonging to Metinvest Group.
The illegal actions to seize and resume the operations of the Mariupol port clearly indicate that these steel products may be exported by the occupiers to the ports of Rostov, Taganrog, Novorossiysk, Tuapse and occupied Sevastopol for the further illegal sale of the stolen products to countries of Africa and Asia that do not support the sanctions regimes that have been enacted against the Russian Federation as the aggressor country.
Under international and Ukrainian law, the actions of the aggressor’s representatives, including the armed seizure of Metinvest Group’s merchant ships and products, have all the markings of piracy and looting, which are violations of the laws and customs of war and are serious international crimes.
Metinvest Group will undertake every possible legal effort to achieve strict legal accountability for all perpetrators and their accomplices.