Ukrainian steelmaker Metinvest is using its steel to make ‘hedgehogs’ and not the cute and cuddly kind, these bad boys are slowing the advance of Russian tanks.

Normally when writing about the output of steelmakers around the world there is talk of automotive steel, long products, billets, grain-oriented electrical steel, OCTG and so forth. Here on Steel Times International we often discuss the global steel industry’s ‘end-use’ markets, such as construction, automotive, infrastructure, home appliances and so on.

Over the past 15 days, however, the agenda has changed considerably. Ukrainian steelmaker Metinvest is putting aside press announcements about emissions reductions and capacity utilisation rates and talking instead about the production of anti-tank ‘hedgehogs’ which are being deployed across Ukraine in order to slow the advance of Russian tanks - and yes, in case you’ve forgotten, this is March 2022, not September 1939.

You don’t need anybody to tell you why a leading Ukrainian steel manufacturer with global reach is now engaged in the production of anti-tank ‘hedgehogs’ purely for domestic usage; the reason is fairly simple to understand and has been widely reported by Western media throughout the free world. Ukraine has been invaded by the Russians in what can only be described as an appalling, unprovoked and completely unnecessary attack. Innocent people are being killed, including pregnant women and their unborn children.

Stop for a moment and have sympathy for ordinary Ukrainians, people who, around a fortnight ago, were leading normal lives just like everybody else: commuting to work, dropping their kids off at school, visiting the supermarket for the weekly shop, enjoying a cappuccino and a slice of cake in a local coffee shop and generally getting on with their lives. Until, that is, an aggressive and backwards-thinking despot, fuelled by a warped sense of history and self-entitlement, decided to send in the tanks and heavy artillery into a sovereign nation that hadn’t exhibited any aggression towards its neighbour.

Over the past fortnight, the Russians have bombed the Ukrainians with everything they’ve got, reducing towns and cities to rubble and forcing millions of innocent people to pack what they can and get the hell out, finding solace in neighbouring Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova. The humanitarian crisis is deepening and while diplomats on both sides have been talking, there has been no agreement that might lead to a ceasefire or a withdrawal of Russian troops from the theatre of war.

The Ukranians have fought (and continue to fight) an honourable battle against the Russian aggressor that has changed the world’s perception not only of the inner strengths and bravery of the Ukrainian people - in particular President Zelensky - but also of the much overrated might of the Russian army.

In a post on social media, Metinvest Group explained how it began to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine and territorial defence forces throughout the country during the earliest days of the war. According to a decision taken by Rinat Akhmetov, in order to protect cities, Metinvest SMC began to provide steel free-of-charge for the manufacturing of anti-tank obstacles known as hedgehogs. Still more of these defences against the enemy's advance have been manufactured by Metinvest Group enterprises.

Since the beginning of hostilities, more than 35,000 anti-tank obstacles, known as hedgehogs, have been made from Metinvest steel. In addition, the Group's enterprises and partners are producing studded chains to stop wheeled vehicles, and anti-landing hedgehogs.

Metinvest's steel is also being used to make stoves, heating, and cooking ovens installed at checkpoints. The reinforcement of checkpoints continues. The Group has provided more than 600 tonnes of sand and crushed stone, 2,100 reinforced concrete blocks and 60 concrete slabs as well as timber.

"A month ago, we proudly said that the most beautiful and iconic steel structures of Ukraine are made of Metinvest steel. Today, we and our partners are making less sophisticated steel items. They are simple but convincing. Ukrainian cities meet the invaders not with flowers, but with hedgehogs and chains. Now we are focused on protecting the health and life of people. Therefore, we are providing comprehensive support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the territorial defence forces," said Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest Group.

Previously, the Group allocated EUR10 million for the purchase of body-armour vests, helmets and first-aid kits to protect Ukrainian soldiers. The procurement is taking place in several stages. As part of the first stage, Metinvest purchased 2,800 armoured vests made in Poland with the third and fourth levels of protection, and 500 army first-aid kits manufactured in Turkey. In the second stage, armoured vests, first-aid kits and protective helmets for the territorial defence forces will also be purchased. The first batch is already on its way to Ukraine and will soon be provided to the territorial defence forces.

For more information on the current situation on Metinvest Group’s war time activities, visit the regularly updated website on