Putin’s locusts at work: stripping Donbas of industrial assets



While the terrorist leaders in Donbas claim to be building a new independent and prosperous state, facts suggest that their true goals may be far from that. Viktor Mazyarchuk, an expert in state governance, argues that the terrorist and their Russian puppeteers are conducting a campaign to destroy Eastern Ukrainian industrial potential and move as many assets as possible to Russia. To that end they have been conducting several campaigns:

  • Seizing equipment from Donbas’s high-tech and armament plants, including, among others, a military electronics plant in Torez, a mining equipment plant in Donetsk and a small arms plant in Luhansk. On August 22-23, under the guise of the first so-called “humanitarian convoy” five factories were stripped of their equipment, loaded on the trucks (which were half-empty to begin with) and moved into Russia on the convoy’s return trip: “Topaz,” producing such modern object-detection systems like Kolchuha, “Tochmash,” producing mining equipment,  “Yunist,” producing miniature hermetic relays for the aerospace industry,  Luhansk ammunition plant,  Snizhne Machine-Building Plant producing unique wind turbine molds. Currently, the molds from the Snizhne plant are being taken away to St.Petersburg, where a new wind turbine factory is being built, thus arming Russia’s defense sector. 
  • This process continues, Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reporting similar activities on October 21. Equipment was stolen from two unique Ukrainian factories, the “Mashzavod 100” that creates monocrystals, and the aforementioned aerospace industry plant “Yunist.”


  • Robbery at coal plants has been put on an industrial scale, with terrorist units prohibiting coal mines from shipping their product to consumers in Ukraine. The coal stays at warehouses and later makes trips to Russia on large vehicle convoys, which are regularly featured in OSCE reports. According to Ukraine’s Internal Ministry, an unloading point has been set up in Russia 5 km to the east of the border town of Hukovo. The scale of robbery is estimated at 500,000 tonnes, and there have been reports of sales at a price of $100 per tonne (in comparison, the average sales price of Russian-produced coal is $160 per tonne). This means the terrorists could earn 50,000,000 dollars on this operation alone.

A map of mines which suffer from the illegal operation

  •  Another target is the mines’ equipment, which may be sold as scrap metal in Russia. Several mines have been experiencing technical difficulties or stopped working altogether due to heavy shelling and fighting. Strangely, none of the mines belonging to the East Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov seem to be affected, which suggest a possible deal with the terrorists for whom Akhmentov’s assets are off-limits in exchange for turning a blind eye to the coal operation.
  • Other examples of organized robbery include car theft (with 229 cars stolen in Sloviansk alone during the occupation), extortion of “taxes” from businesses under threat of “nationalization” (i.e. illegal seizure), and claiming apartments and houses of refugees who left the region.

The effect of terrorist rule on the economy has been overwhelming. As of the beginning of October, only 20% of industrial enterprises in the region were functioning, according to an estimate by the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. In Luhansk proper, 19 of 23 enterprises have stopped their work.

To combat this threat to Ukraine’s economy, the author proposes to delegitimize the terrorist groups by denying them any international or internal recognition, start legal proceedings against their leaders, apply sanctions against terrorists and their sponsors in Russia and Ukraine, form an evidence database to prosecute Russia in European courts, conduct an information campaign in the affected regions to counter Russian and terrorist propaganda and, finally, adopt a program of development for Eastern Ukraine to mitigate its dependence on Russia and redirect its production to European and World markets.

Photo:  EPA/UPG

Translated by: Odarka Bilokon

Edited by: Kirill Mikhailov&Alya Shandra

Source: Adapted from blogs.lb.ua

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  1. Avatar Vitalii Usenko says:

    Excellent article and good that coverage of this topic continues. More to this topic: “Ukraine
    under Invasion – Looting East and Dithering West” – http://euromaidanpress.com/2014/08/30/ukraine-under-invasion-looting-east-and-dithering-west/

  2. Avatar Brent says:

    Little green ‘locusts’. Excellent description of what Putin’s terrorists have brought to Donbass and a good lesson for other cities like Kharkiv, Zhaporojzhe, and Dnipropetrovsk to be aware of what may await for them if they were ever to choose to ‘rise up’ against Ukraine like the 20% with guns did in Donetsk and Lugansk.

    1. Avatar Murf says:

      I hope the more reasonable ethnic Russian people of Ukraine and other countries will learn from this tragedy.
      But I am not very optimistic.
      Pride in your heritage is not the same as blind faith in a leader.

  3. Avatar Racquel Simone says:

    Motor Sich and Yuzhmash plants need to be packed up and relocated ASAP as they are crucial to Russia’s military. Putin wants these badly. Another reason to continue on with his invasion especially since pro-Putler Mogherwini’s not going to make him pay by pushing for more EU sanctions on Russia. Better safe than sorry to lose such priceless Ukrainian businesses. Hopefully they’ve done this already.

  4. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from this fraudulent kleptocracy. Wake up world before it’s too late.

  5. Avatar Milton Devonair says:

    Should make good, visible targets for the humans to bomb.
    Then Ukraine can modernize their plants with newer machinery. The apes in russia will be left passed out, drunk on machinery they never could figure out how to operate.

    1. Avatar Michael Couck says:

      I was thinking the same thing, the financing from EU will enable new more efficient and technologically advanced factories! Thanks for taking the junk away you little shit.

      1. Avatar Milton Devonair says:

        😀 Yup, the drunken apes in russia need new machinery to vomit on and sleep on…all the while having a vision of a grand russian empire for their billionaire kgb leader…..

  6. Avatar Murf says:

    This is why I said back in Sept when Russia invaded directly to forget about the occupied areas. Cut them off, leave them behind.
    Russia relived UA of one millstone,Crimea and is trying replace it with Donbas.
    I knew they were gong to wreck the place and steal everything worth having. So beat Putin at his own ruthless game.
    Turn the tables and make him responsible. Ukraine’s scarce resources are needed by loyal citizens.
    Regrettably Donbas will never be the same.
    I feel some sympathy for the average folks whi just wanted to mind their own business.
    But at one point 200 farmer with shot guns could have ended this thing and nobody stood up for thier ccountry.
    So I just don’t feel much. When you lay down with dogs…