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ARD: at least 2 German companies supply building materials to occupied Mariupol

Many buildings in Mariupol use cement made by Knauf. Concrete blocks made by the German company WKB Systems were also spotted in the occupied city. 

ARD: at least 2 German companies supply building materials to occupied Mariupol
Illustrative photo: Mariupol destroyed by Russians
Photo: EPA/UPG

Companies from Germany are involved in construction work in Mariupol, which was destroyed and occupied by Russian troops. These are the conclusions of the Monitor programme of the German public broadcaster ARD, DW reports.

The publication reports that while searching for evidence of German companies' participation in the restoration of the Ukrainian city destroyed during the war, which was occupied by the Russian Armed Forces and declared Russian, journalists relied on data from construction companies' websites, business documentation, photos and videos.

In particular, many construction sites in Mariupol use cement made by Knauf, they noted. According to ARD, Knauf currently employs 4,000 people in Russia and generates billions of dollars in turnover in the Russian market. At the request of the editorial office, the company said that it condemns Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine and adheres to all EU sanctions against Russia. Knauf products manufactured in Russia are intended exclusively for the Russian market, the press service added. No answers were received to a long list of questions submitted by the company's editorial board, ARD reports.

Roderich Kiesewetter, a foreign policy expert of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), condemned the participation of German companies in construction work in the captured city, believing that their services benefit the war, which violates international law: "In the case of Knauf, this is very clear, as they are really cementing the Russian government in the occupied regions, particularly in Mariupol."

In addition, ARD journalists have seen concrete blocks in green packaging film on photos and videos of construction sites in Mariupol with the name of the German company WKB Systems from the Munsterland region of North Rhine-Westphalia. Among other things, this company equips concrete block production plants.

The company's main shareholder is Russian businessman Viktor Budarin. "Customs data available to Monitor shows that WKB Systems GmbH has been supplying complete plants for factories producing such aerated concrete blocks to one of Budarin's Russian companies for a number of years - apparently the same company whose products Russia is using to strengthen its power in Mariupol," the investigation says.

It notes that no EU sanctions have been imposed on Budarin. WKB Systems did not respond to journalists' requests for comment. 

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