(Reuters) – Very rich Ukraine Like the besieged city of Mariupol, he promised to help rebuild the place closest to his heart, which included two large steel mills he owned. He promises to compete again globally.
Rinad Akhmetov saw his business empire shattered by eight years of fighting in eastern Ukraine, but he is confident that they will be defended, as he calls them “our brave soldiers.” Sea of Azov Sea It was reduced to vacant ground seven weeks after the bombing.
However, his company Medinvest, Ukraine’s largest steelmaker, has announced that it will not meet its supply agreements, and while his finance and industry group SCM is fulfilling its debt obligations, his private power producer DTEK has “improved its debt payments” in an agreement with creditors.
“Mariupol is a global example of world tragedy and heroism. For me, Mariupol will always be a Ukrainian city,” Akhmetov said in a written response to Reuters’ questions.
“I think our brave soldiers will defend the city, but I understand how hard and difficult it is for them,” he said, adding that he was in daily contact with the managers of Medinwest who run the Azovstell and Ilich iron and steel factories in Mariupol. .
On Friday, Metinvest said it would never operate under Russian occupation and that the siege of Mariupol had paralyzed a third of Ukraine’s metallurgical production capacity.
Akhmetov praised the president’s “interest and professionalism.” Volodymyr Zhelensky During the war, relations between the two were softened after the Ukrainian leader said last year that conspirators plotting to overthrow his government had tried to entrap the businessman.
Akhmetov called the accusation “a complete lie” at the time.
“And the war is definitely not the time to disagree … we will rebuild the whole of Ukraine,” he said, adding that he returned to the country on February 23 and has been there ever since.
“The Marshall Plan for Ukraine,” he asks the rich man in Ukraine
Akhmedov did not say exactly where he was, but noted that he was in Mariupol on February 16, the day some Western intelligence expects the invasion to begin. “I talked to people in the streets, I met workers …” he said.
“My ambition is to return to the Ukrainian Mariupol and implement our plans (for new production) so that the steel produced in Mariupol can compete in global markets as before.”
Russia invaded on February 24 When President Vladimir Putin announced a “special measure” to militarize and “reduce” the country. Kiev and its Western allies call it the false excuse for unprovoked attack.
Akhmedov, who has long been the richest man in Ukraine, has seen his business empire shrink since 2014, declaring independence from the Crimean Black Sea Peninsula and the two eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Kiev.
According to Forbes Magazine, Akhmedo’s net worth in 2013 reached $ 15.4 billion. It is currently worth $ 3.9 billion.
“For us, the war broke out in 2014. We lost all our property in Crimea and the temporarily occupied Donbass region. We lost our businesses, but it made us stronger and stronger,” he said.
“As the country’s largest private company, I believe SCM will play a key role in rebuilding Ukraine after the war,” he said, citing officials that the war damage had reached $ 1 trillion.
Referring to the US aid program that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War II, he said, “We definitely need an unprecedented international reconstruction program, the Marshall Plan for Ukraine.”
“I firmly believe that after our victory in this war we will all rebuild an independent, European, democratic and successful Ukraine.”