As the Russian war against Ukraine rages on, BBC Ukrainecast remains at the forefront, dedicated to providing comprehensive coverage of the war's events. Today, in a departure from its typical discussions, BBC is taking a closer look at an unconventional strategy adopted by the mining and steel company, Metinvest. Owning the Azovstal Steel Works in Mariupol, they have recently shifted their focus to crafting decoys — replicas of weapons designed to deceive the Russian army.
– “Hello, Ukrainecast. I’m Max from Munich in Germany. I was wondering whether Ukraine’s tactic of building decoys could be taken any further, like building entire Potemkin villages for the Russians to waste their time and resources on while they try to capture them. Or whether it’s viable in an age of satellite images and GPS?” What do you think of that idea, Oleg?
– It's an intriguing concept, Max. I believe our armed forces are extensively exploring decoy strategies. We stand ready to produce any decoys deemed beneficial, and we remain open to requests from our armed forces to assist them.
– Would you say, Mr. Davydenko, that this war is personal for Metinvest? Because it has roots in Donetsk occupied by Russia now. It owns Azovstal which was almost completely destroyed by Russians and Mariupol is obviously occupied by Russia as well. Does that feel very personal?
– Undoubtedly. For us, this war's inception wasn't 18 months ago, but almost a decade back. First, we were in Donetsk and then we had to move to other cities, and what happened to Mariupol is a tragedy for all Ukrainians. So, this war is personal not only for Metinvest; it is personal for all Ukrainians. We are doing everything we can to defeat the enemy and be independent, and this sovereignty is the most important thing we are fighting for.
– What happened to your staff from Mariupol? Have you been able to move them out as well?
– Yes, we facilitated the evacuation of over 15,000 people from Mariupol, relocating them to safer areas such as Kamianske, Zaporizhzhia, and Kryvyi Rih. Many have found employment in our factories across these regions.
– Mr. Davydenko, many thanks for talking to us.
– Thanks for inviting me.