German firms assist Russia in rebuilding occupied Mariupol – ARD

According to an investigation by the ARD TV program Monitor, two German companies—Knauf and WKB Systems—are delivering construction materials to Russia in occupied Mariupol.

According to an investigation conducted by Monitor magazine and broadcast on the German public ARD television channel, the industrial Knauf group, which manufactures plasterboard, and WKB Systems, which produces aerated concrete, have been providing materials for construction in the town that Russian bombardments destroyed during the first months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It also references an “official distributor” of Knauf’s who is promoting a housing project in Mariupol using Knauf materials on behalf of the Russian defense ministry. According to the magazine, construction projects in Mariupol showcase WKB Systems’ products, primarily owned by Russian entrepreneur Viktor Budarin.

The investigation’s authors state that following the seizure of the entirely destroyed city, its rehabilitation “plays a vital role in Russia’s war propaganda.”

“When the Russian flag was flown over Mariupol’s shattered buildings, construction on a ‘new’ Mariupol began. A Russian city with Russian residents, built on behalf of the Kremlin,” the magazine claims.

Knauf, upon the editorial staff’s request, declared their disapproval of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, their adherence to all EU sanctions against Russia, and the exclusive design of their goods in Russia for the Russian market. According to ARD, Knauf employs 4,000 employees in Russia and generates billions of euros in sales on the Russian market.

Furthermore, in photographs and videos from Mariupol building sites, ARD journalists observed concrete blocks wrapped in green packing film with the name of the German company WKB Systems from North Rhine-Westphalia’s Münsterland district.

This German company, among other things, provides concrete block production plants. WKB Systems did not react to journalists’ inquiries for a response.

The picture showed the wreckage of the Mariupol Drama Theater, which Russian aircraft bombs demolished, killing many who were hiding inside from strikes, and Russian invading authorities are currently rebuilding it.

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