Mariupol and Azovstal: Reaction of the Wealthiest Person in Ukraine
Until February 24, 2022, the richest person in Ukraine was Rinat Akhmetov, whose fortune was close to $15 billion. Following Russia’s invasion of the territory of independent Ukraine, the billionaire lost more than half of his fortune and there is a logical explanation for this. Firstly, Rinat Akhmetov https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-zelenskiy-akhmetov-debt/31669233.html owns a hugely influential percentage of media in the country, and as you will know, television channels have lost their earnings, because advertising isn’t broadcast during the war. In addition to this ownership, the billionaire’s main business is energy, coal, and metal.
Rinat Akhmetov was born and grew up in Donetsk Oblast, and here he became the owner of Shakhtar Football Club. Since the businessman started his business in his hometown, most of his factories and enterprises were located there, which resulted in huge losses. In 2014, Russia illegally invaded Ukraine and occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including the Crimea. As a result, the businessman has already lost some of his assets, because access to them was lost. The football club also moved from its hometown of Donetsk and is currently based in Kyiv.
If we talk about the largest plants producing steel and metals, it will certainly be Azovstal Steel Plant and Illich Iron and Steel Works. Unfortunately, both plants located in the occupied Mariupol have been practically destroyed. For months the Russian army have been shelling Azovstal with all kinds of bombs, including phosphorus bombs, which affect humans, eating away at the skin. To all this horror, in the basements of the plant were defenders of Ukraine from the Azov regiment as well as civilians who found themselves in the blockade by the Russian army. For about three months, the Ukrainian military held this plant to the last in order to not abandon Mariupol to the enemy. Akhmetov said that he was proud that Azovstal Plant was the stronghold. According to the billionaire, Mariupol was, is, and can only be part of Ukraine. Mariupol is a tragedy for all Ukrainians because more than 20,000 civilians died there as a result of Russian aggression — they deliberately bombed homes, hospitals, maternity homes, and theatres. Rinat Akhmetov said that he was also ready to sue Russia for the destruction of part of his business — after all, the capitalisation of the two above-mentioned plants is $10 billion.
Previously, Rinat Akhmetov was alleged of pro-Russian motives, but in an interview, he said that he had always been pro-Ukrainian. The businessman was born and grew up in Ukrainian Donetsk and it was there that he started his business. In 2014, he was alleged for supporting separatism, and in 2022 he called Putin a war criminal, which made it clear that he had no ties to the Kremlin. The billionaire said that he would help his country and people in any way he could.