Ukrainian Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov Pledges To Rebuild Mariupol

Ukrainian Billionaire Rinat Akhmetov Pledges To Rebuild Mariupol

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Ukraine’s wealthiest billionaire, Rinat Akhmetov, vowed in an interview with Reuters on Saturday to help rebuild the encircled city of Mariupol, where his mining and steel company is based, and to reestablish the country as a global competitor after Ukraine’s “victory in this war.”

Ukrainian steel and coal magnate Rinat Akhmetov speaks to media near the premises of the club of the … [+] Cabinet of Ministers in Kyiv on June 27, 2014. (Photo by Danil Shamkin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Key Facts

Akhmetov told Reuters he will one day return to a Ukrainian Mariupol to implement new production plans “so that Mariupol-produced steel can compete in global markets as before.”

More than a third of the country’s metal production capacity had been disabled due to Russia’s bombardment of Mariupol, according to Akhmetov’s Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest steelmaker.

Akhmetov said he has been in daily contact with the managers of the two steel works in Mariupol, and commended the brave soldiers [that] will defend the city.”

SCM Group, Akhmetov’s financial and industrial holding company and the country’s largest private employer, will “play a key role in the post-war reconstruction” of Ukraine, he said, adding that officials have estimated the damage in the country has reached about $1 trillion.

The billionaire told Forbes Ukraine last month he plans to remain in Ukraine and “will spare no expense or effort” to rebuild the country once Ukraine wins the war.

Big Number

$3.9 billion. That’s how much Akhmetov is worth, according to Forbes’ real-time wealth tracker. Akhmetov’s net worth has dropped from about $15.3 billion in 2013, prior to the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Crucial Quote

“For us, the war broke out in 2014. We lost all of our assets both in Crimea and in the temporarily occupied territory of Donbas. We lost our businesses, but it made us tougher and stronger,” Akhmetov told Reuters. “I trust that we all will rebuild a free, European, democratic, and successful Ukraine after our victory in this war.”

Key Background

Mariupol, a port city of about 400,000 near the Sea of Azov, has been laid waste by Russian bombardment in a siege that has lasted weeks. Russian forces bombed a theater in the city where hundreds of civilians were sheltering, killing at least 300 people, and access to basic humanitarian supplies have dwindled. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko told the Associated Press more than 10,000 residents have died and he predicts the true death toll could double.

Further Reading

Ukraine’s richest man vows to rebuild besieged Mariupol (Reuters)

Over 10,000 Mariupol Residents Have Died, Mayor Says—And Death Toll Could Double (Forbes)

Ukraine’s Richest Man Says He’s Doing Everything He Can To Help His Country, And Sparing No Expense (Forbes)

Read More