The situation at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is “close to a catastrophe,” Yuriy Ryzhenkov, the CEO of Metinvest Holding, the company that owns the plant, told CNN on Thursday.
“When the war started we had stocked quite a good stocks of food and water in the bomb shelters and the facilities at the plant so for some period of time the civilians, they were able to use it and basically survive on that. Unfortunately all the things, they tend to run out, especially the food and daily necessities. I think now it’s close to a catastrophe there,” Ryzhenkov told CNN’s Julia Chatterley.
Ryzhenkov said originally there had been enough supplies for two to three weeks but they were almost eight weeks into the blockade. He added that those still there “were not giving up.”
The CEO said they had set up a hotline for any employees of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, and so far about 4,500 had been in contact, leaving around 6,000 yet to be accounted for.
“Hopefully they are still alive, hopefully they are ok and hopefully they will get out and we will be able to provide them with all the necessary comfort,” he said.
According to Ryzhenkov, the company has said the facility will not work under Russian occupation. “Our enterprises will not be working under Russian occupation. We will not be controlling this work we will not be providing this work. Of course Russians can try to restart the plants, but let’s see if they can manage that, I doubt very much," he said.