German companies involved in Russian 'reconstruction' of Mariupol, investigation finds

The magazine says it examined several images of construction sites where Knauf logos appear, as well as detailed operational reports, which attest to the manufacturer's operations in this major port city in eastern Ukraine, a target of Russian forces. 24, 2022 and came under their control after more than two months of siege, at the cost of tens of thousands of deaths and almost total destruction.

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The magazine also cites “an official Knauf distributor promoting a residential building project in Mariupol built with Knauf products on behalf of the Russian Ministry of Defense.”

Products of WKB Systems, a major partner of Russian businessman Viktor Butar, were also identified at Mariupol construction sites, the newspaper reported.

In a statement sent to AFP, the Knauf group said it “respects all sanctions from the European Union, Great Britain and the United States against Russia”.

The Bavarian group, which has 14 production sites and 4,000 employees in Russia, explained that it had “decided to remain in the Russian market until further notice”, citing “its responsibility” for its local employees.

Many Western companies, including large German conglomerates, stopped their operations in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, and were sometimes sold.

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Since capturing Mariupol, Russia has put forward a plan to rebuild the city, which had more than 400,000 residents before the military offensive.

This “so-called +reconstruction+ only serves Russian propaganda,” the German Foreign Ministry told AFP, citing the participation of German companies in the construction sites.

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“Any company participating in it should ask itself who it is serving,” the ministry added.

The German Economy Ministry told AFP that “competent investigative authorities (customs judicial police, public prosecutor) are needed.

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