According to the CEO of Ukraine’s largest steel company, Metinvest, Russia is stealing $600 million (£500 million) worth of steel from factories and ports.

The company owns the Azovstal plant, which served as the last refuge for Ukrainian troops and civilians during the destruction of Mariupol amidst Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

Some of the steel being shipped to Russia and sold there, according to chief executive Yuriy Ryzhenkov, was intended for customers in the UK.

The Russian government has made no remarks regarding the situation.

Mariupol, a hub of commerce and manufacturing that was under constant Russian attack for almost three months, is where Metinvest is headquartered.

According to Mr Ryzhenkov the attack on the Azovstal factory, which together with its affiliated plant Ilyich accounted for 40% of all steel production in Ukraine, resulted in the deaths of 300 personnel and 200 employees’ family members.

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European customers, including those in the United Kingdom, had purchased thousands of tonnes of steel.

Ryzhenkov also said that information on the steel’s transfer to Russia and sale there or to nations in Africa and Asia came from both public sources and the company’s own informants.

In a statement to the UK’s BBC news, Ryzhenkov stressed “What they’re doing is basically looting. They’re stealing not only our products, but also some of those products already belong to the European customers. So basically, they’re not only stealing from us, they’re stealing from the Europeans as well”.

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“At some point in time, the Russians will be facing not only the international courts, but also the criminal courts. And we will be going after them with anything we have”

He said, explaining that the business was recording as much of the thievery as it could and was getting ready to file a lawsuit in the future.

There are other ways to pursue a lawsuit, but the chances of victory are less guaranteed, according to Prof. Marko Milanovich, an international law specialist at the University of Reading.

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“Whichever legal options Metinvest chooses, it’s a very difficult process and whilst looting is unfortunately quite common in conflict, suing the looting state and obtaining compensation is very, very rare indeed,” he told the BBC.

“However, they might want symbolic satisfaction more than the money, and labelling Russia as a law breaker would be a big deal.”

This is not the only case of theft by Russia.

Recently, there has been growing proof by credible sources that Russian troops in seized regions have been grabbing food from nearby farms and exporting it across the world.

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