Ukrainian steelmaker Metinvest has sent a strong message to Russian steelmakers likening the actions of Vladimir Putin to those of Adolf Hitler at the beginning of the Second World War and outlining some of the atrocities that have taken place since the unprovoked and totally unnecessary invasion started on 23 February 2022. Here is Metinvest's message in full.

"To our Russian colleagues: not long ago, we called you our friends and brothers. We attended the same schools and sat through the same university lectures. We stood side-by-side as we operated furnaces to produce steel and mined ore from the depths. Please hear this truth, which we could never have thought possible. This is the truth that we, your Ukrainian colleagues, want to tell you.

"It has been almost a week since columns with tonnes of heavy armour monsters began trying to break through, bringing gloom and death. Thousands of bombs are falling on Ukrainian cities; they are being shelled by missiles and artillery of all types and calibres. Ukrainian men, soldiers and those enrolled in the territorial defence are being killed. But the most devastating thing is that our children, women and elderly people are under fire and are dying every day, every hour and every minute. Thousands of families are losing their homes and trying to flee from their cities and villages in Ukraine. This is a full-scale war, which your leaders in Russia falsely call a ‘special operation’ to hide its true extent.

"When Hitler began waging a war of aggression against our nations on 22 June 1941, he also tried to avoid using the word ‘war’ in his speech. He instead spoke of an operation that aimed solely to defend against the Soviet threat. Today, 75 years later, does this sound familiar, Russian colleagues.

"The heavy armour bearing down on us was smelted by the hardworking hands of the steelworkers at Magnitogorsk and Severstal using the ore that you mined in Russia. We are being shelled by the non-ferrous metal of Norilsk and Krasnoyarsk. The missiles and military jets that kill our people are made from your steel. The most grieving thing to see is that these jets and tanks are operated by your children, young guys who are barely 19 or 20 years old.

"The steel capital of Ukraine – the border city of Mariupol, which has become one of the most prosperous cities of the Donbas area – is under fire today. Residential neighbourhoods are being razed to the ground, and civilians are suffering and dying. The Russian army is shelling it from all sides, hitting residential and civilian targets, aiming its missiles at the city centre. Three schools have already been bombed.

"Do you agree with this? Do you support the regime that sends your people to certain death and kills our children? If not, why do you stay silent?"