Ukraine War: German companies involved in Russian construction projects in Mariupol

Ukraine War: German companies involved in Russian construction projects in Mariupol

In the Ukrainian port city captured by Russia in 2022 Mariupol are according to one Research by the ARD political magazine monitor two German companies were involved in the occupiers’ construction work. The plaster manufacturer Knauf and the company WKB Systems, which supplies concrete for construction projects, are supplying construction sites in the city with material.

A Knauf dealer publicly advertised that he had built a residential building project using Knauf building materials on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Defense. monitor According to the report, viewed photos of the relevant construction site, where bags with the Knauf logo could be seen. WKB Systems, whose main shareholder is Russian businessman Viktor Budarin, also supplies concrete blocks to Mariupol.

Companies with long-standing connections to Russia

According to the report, both companies have long-standing connections Russia. According to customs data, WKB Systems supplied entire plants for factories producing concrete blocks to a Budarin company that is also active in Mariupol. Nikolaus Knauf, who is one of the richest entrepreneurs in Germany, was Russian honorary consul for decades.

Knauf has around 4,000 employees in Russia. In response to a request from monitor According to the report, the company responded with an assurance that it would produce “exclusively for the Russian market”. How exactly the company deals with this is not clear from the answer. Mariupol is part of the Ukrainian Donetsk region, which Russia annexed in autumn 2022 and considers part of its territory.

There had also been previous allegations against Knauf of being involved in the Russian war effort. According to Mirror-Research From October 2022, Knauf deployed more than 80 employees from its location in Krasnogorsk, Russia, for the partial mobilization that was underway in Russia at the time. However, a letter in which the company was asked to do so by the Russian authorities was only a request that the company complied with without being obliged to do so.

Mariupol almost completely destroyed in Russian attacks

According to the report, the activities of German companies on occupied Ukrainian territory are also known in politics. The CDU member of the Bundestag Roderich Kiesewetter condemned the commitment to Russia. It is “very obvious at Knauf because they are actually cementing Russian power in the occupied territories, including in Mariupol.”

Mariupol was besieged by Russia’s army in the first months of the war and massively attacked with artillery and bombs. More than two thirds of the city was completely destroyed, a total of 90 percent of the buildings were damaged. The attack on a theater in Mariupol where people were seeking shelter from the bombardment was also the largest single Russian attack on civilians in the entire war. At least 300 people were killed.

To date, the exact number of deaths in Mariupol is not known. The Ukraine had accused Russia of removing rubble without first retrieving bodies. Satellite images of mass graves created near Mariupol in 2022 suggest that more than 10,000 people were buried there. Ukraine estimates that more than 25,000 civilians were killed in the city – more than two and a half times the total number of deaths confirmed so far.

Propaganda allegations during the reconstruction of Mariupol

The Russian government announced early on that it wanted to rebuild Mariupol. Russian state television often presents images from the city showing newly constructed buildings. However, it is questionable whether this will benefit the residents who remain in the city. In other occupied territories, too, people who have lost their homes often only receive a replacement upon presentation of a Russian passport. In addition, thousands of Mariupol’s residents were forcibly evacuated to Russia by the occupiers after the city was conquered, which the government in Kiev condemns as deportation.

Mariupol’s Ukrainian exile authorities accuse the occupiers that the new buildings will primarily serve as accommodation for people and occupation officials who have settled there from Russia. According to research by independent Russian exiled media In addition, many restoration works are only demonstrative in nature: buildings are only superficially restored, they are unsafe to live in or are inadequately supplied with electricity and water.

Of the more than 400,000 people who lived in Mariupol, fewer than half are believed to now live there; according to Russian figures, around 280,000 still live there. However, it is unclear how many current residents of Mariupol still belong to the original population and how many were brought there from Russia, for example as construction workers. In addition, not all of the seemingly civilian buildings in the city that are being rebuilt or rebuilt by the occupiers serve a civilian purpose. The Mariupol train station, for example become an important hub for Russian military logistics in southeastern Ukraine.

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