MOSCOW, July 29 The fighting in eastern Ukraine
has forced Metinvest, the country's largest
steelmaker, to shut off all production at its main coke plant,
it said on Tuesday, days after warning of the economic risks
posed by the clashes.
Pro-Russian rebels have been fighting government forces
since April when they set up separatist republics in Donetsk and
Luhansk, heavily industrialised regions that together account
for nearly 18 percent of Ukrainian gross domestic product (GDP).
The Avdiivka coke facility, which produces 40 percent of
Ukraine's coke - a key ingredient in steelmaking - was hit by
shelling last week and although Metinvest was initially able to
restore output further damage to the plant's electricity supply
has halted all production.
"Emergency measures are being taken," Metinvest said in a
statement, emphasising the need to recharge the plant's battery
storage within 24 hours.
On Monday production was slashed at two of Metinvest's steel
plants near the east Ukrainian town of Mariupol, because supply
routes for raw materials had been disrupted as Ukrainian forces
pressed their military campaign against the separatists.
When working at full capacity the Avdiivka plant produces
7,200 tonnes of coke per day.
(Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; Writing by Alessandra Prentice;
Editing by Greg Mahlich)