Mine in Ukraine sold steel for Russian weapons

Despite being banned, a mine in the Sumy region of eastern Ukraine allegedly sold material to Russia. The sale should have continued from 2012 until Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, writes the Ukrainian security service SBU on Telegram.

According to the SBU, large batches of rocks that are melted down to steel have been sold in Russia. The steel is said to have been used to build combat drones, radar systems and ballistic robots.

Above all, they should have produced Iskander robots from the Ukrainian raw materials, according to the SBU. Iskander robots have been used in several attacks against Ukraine and are a form of ballistic robot that can only be controlled when launched, unlike cruise robots that can be controlled for much of the journey.

Iskander robots were used by Russia, among others, when a funeral in Hroza in the Kharkiv region was attacked and 52 Ukrainians died. Even in the attack on a pizzeria in the city of Kramatorsk last year, when 11 people died, several of them children, and over 50 people were injured, it was Iskander robots that struck down.

Delivered large batches of rock to Russia

The SBU writes that the director of the mining company and an assistant have been arrested, suspected of illegally selling raw materials to Russia. They are both Ukrainians. Pictures that have been published show how the men have been arrested in various places in Ukraine. Handcuffed, they are presented to the camera by personnel from the Ukrainian security service.

“Until the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the management of the mining company supplied large batches of rocks to Russia that were melted into steel,” writes the SBU.

Three more people are suspected of involvement in the illegal deals.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

FBI: May be linked to bribery, extortion and violence

One of the suspects is the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. He owns several Russian industrial companies and several countries have imposed sanctions on him, both after the occupation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Deripaska also found himself in the spotlight in January 2023, when an employee of the FBI’s counterintelligence division was charged with received payments from Deripaska and thus violated the US sanctions against the Russian billionaire.

“Russian oligarchs like Oleg Deripaska have dangerous global influence from the Kremlin and can be linked to cases of bribery, extortion and violence,” FBI Director Michael Driscoll said when announcing the indictment.

In Sweden, Deripaska is best known for his connections to the aluminum company Kubal in Sundsvall. The company is owned by a Russian company which in turn was largely owned by Deripaska.

The Ukrainian security service believes that Oleg Deripaska was behind the sale of the Ukrainian rocks that went to Russian weapons and should have been informally notified of the accusations against him.

“Raw materials from Ukraine were sold by the Russian billionaire to companies in the defense industry,” writes the SBU.

Since February 2023, the mine in the Sumy region, located just a few miles from the border with Russia, has been nationalized in favor of Ukraine.