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Huge Fire at Russian Steel Plant Owned by Putin Ally Abramovich—Video

Newsweek 9/26/2022 Isabel van Brugen
Smoke and flames rise from a burning historic factory in Saint Petersburg on April 12, 2021. - Russia on April 13, 2021 detained two people after a huge fire gutted a historic factory in Saint Petersburg, as firefighters continued putting out the blaze. A huge fire broke out at a Russian steel plant owned by Roman Abramovich, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, videos circulating on social media show. © OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images Smoke and flames rise from a burning historic factory in Saint Petersburg on April 12, 2021. - Russia on April 13, 2021 detained two people after a huge fire gutted a historic factory in Saint Petersburg, as firefighters continued putting out the blaze. A huge fire broke out at a Russian steel plant owned by Roman Abramovich, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, videos circulating on social media show.

A huge fire broke out at a Russian steel plant owned by Roman Abramovich, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, videos circulating on social media showed.

Over the weekend, flames engulfed the Evraz ZSMK steel plant, also known as the West Siberian Iron & Steel, in the city of Novokuznetsk in Russia's Kemerovo region.

Russian oligarch Abramovich is one of the major shareholders of Evraz.

Local news outlets cited Russia's Ministry of Industry and Trade as saying that the September 24 fire was caused by a power surge.

"There were no casualties, destruction or damage to equipment," the ministry said.

Videos posted by Novokuznetsk residents showed clouds of smoke and a bright glow in the area where the steel plant is located.

The press service of Evraz ZSMK confirmed an incident in a statement to local news outlet NGS42.RU, noting that at the time of the fire, it was attempting to release gas through the furnace doors. Evraz maintained that videos circulating on social media show a planned technological procedure.

The steel plant is reportedly operating as usual. The press service said it took 1.5 hours for it to resume operations.

Rostekhnadzor, Russia's Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Supervision, confirmed to NGS42.RU that earlier on Saturday, an explosion at the steel plant damaged buildings and equipment. It wasn't immediately clear whether the two events were connected.

The Evraz ZSMK steel plant is powered by the nearby Zapadno-Sibirskaya power station.

Evraz, which has more than 70,000 employees was sanctioned by the U.K. government in May, months after Putin's war against Ukraine began.

The British Foreign Office said at the time that Evraz "operates in sectors of strategic significance to the government of Russia" and that the sanctions would "further chip away at Putin's financial reserves and siege economy, and support Ukraine's continued resistance."

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Evraz was "potentially supplying steel to the Russian military which may have been used in the production of tanks," the British government also said when announcing Abramovich's sanctions.

Evraz has denied the accusations, saying it has provided steel only to the "infrastructure and construction sectors."

Newsweek reached out to Evraz for comment.

Update 9/26/22, 10:24 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information and to reflect that Evraz was contacted for comment.

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