Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch and the majority owner of Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest steel producer, has filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights, citing alleged violations of property rights and seizure of assets connected to its invasion.
Scores of steel industry businesses, coal mines and other assets in the region that are owned by Akhmetov have been seized by Russian forces, he said. The lawsuit seeks urgent ‘relief for Russia’s blockading, looting, destruction and diversion of grain and metals’, according to a statement issued by the oligarch’s System Capital Management group.
''This lawsuit is one of the first international legal steps against Russia to stop their ongoing crimes, destruction of the Ukrainian economy and the plundering of Ukrainian assets.”Rinat Akhmetov, majority owner of Metinvest
“Evil cannot go unpunished,” Akhmetov said in the statement. “Russia’s crimes against Ukraine and our people are egregious, and those guilty of them must be held liable . . . This lawsuit is one of the first international legal steps against Russia to stop their ongoing crimes, destruction of the Ukrainian economy and the plundering of Ukrainian assets,” he added.
Prior to the war, the country’s iron and steel industry was one of the biggest manufacturing sectors, responsible for nearly 10% of gross domestic product and employing half a million people in its supply chain.
The lawsuit comes after Metinvest urged customers not to buy any products made at its mills in Mariupol over fears they had been stolen by Russian forces. The company said that more than 234 Kt of steel manufactured by its Ilyich Steel and Azovstal factories had been in storage when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February, of which about 28 Kt was already loaded on to four ships in the port of Mariupol.