Thế Giới

The mystery of Ukraine’s Azovstal ‘fortress’: The city in the ground

System of bunkers, tunnels military reappeared at a civilian construction in Ukraine, the Azovstal steel plant, and is now used as a fortified stronghold in the conflict with Russia.

The mystery of Ukraine's Azovstal 'fortress': The city in the ground - photo 1

Azovstal Steel Plant was built with the underground system in 1930

screenshot GMK

Azovstal Steel Plant in the port city of Mariupol continues to be the focus of attention in the Russian campaign in Ukraine. System underground tunnels 24 km long is believed to be the place where 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been entrenched for the past several weeks, despite the most advanced weapons, and make it impossible for Russia to claim complete control of this strategic city.

Underground Labyrinth

By page iMedia, Azovstal steel factory was started construction by the Soviet Union on November 7, 1930, after the Presidium of the Supreme Economic Council decided to choose Mariupol as the place to deploy the project. The reason is the coastal port city Sea of ​​Azov This is the shortest and most convenient route for transporting iron ore. This is one of the priority construction projects of the Soviet Union with a budget of 292 million rubles.

The project aims to produce 4 million tons of pig iron annually, a new record and bigger than the US Gary factory at that time with an output of 3 million tons. Not only that, the steel plant is about 11 km . wide2 This is considered a “city within a city”. In addition to 13 large workshops with auxiliary services, the factory also has a system of bunkers and tunnels.

According to AFP, the reason the Soviet Union built the underground system was because the project was implemented at the time world had just ended World War 1, while slowly entering World War 2.

The system is expected to provide shelter for thousands of workers in the event of war, and experts say it could withstand even a nuclear bomb. The first layer is said to be about 10-15 m deep, while the bottom layer is up to 50 m deep.

Sheet The New York Times Citing Galina Yatsura, a spokeswoman for the Metinvest company that owns the factory, said the bunkers below used to be shelters for workers in 2014. This was around the time Russia annexed Crimea and the separatists. Moscow-backed rebels want to take control of Mariupol.

“Since that time, we have always kept the bunkers in good condition and ensured a supply of food and water,” she said. According to the spokesman, the underground shelter system can hold up to 4,000 people and have enough food and water for three weeks.

Surviving the Azovstal factory, the female worker tells the story of hiding in the basement

Steel mill fortresses

In addition to food and water, the underground system also has generators, toilets, blankets, mattresses and even a wood stove.

Not only in Azovstal, the Zaporizhstal steel plant in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia also has a similar underground system. “We can stay in that shelter for a long time. I think it gives us a chance to survive,” said worker Ihor Buhlayev at the Zaporizhstal plant.

The factory was not under siege like Azovstal, but had to be shut down as dangerous fighting drew nearer.

Both factories are part of Metinvest Company, controlled by business man richest Ukraine Rinat Akhmetov. There are 16 bunkers at the Zaporizhstal factory, including one that an AFP reporter visited about 10 meters deep and protected by a 10-centimeter-thick door that resists destruction.

The room is long and brightly lit with rows of wooden benches that can accommodate up to 600 people. Water tanks can flush toilets, and food and water bottles are stacked in storage. Chest-height firewood is stocked for barrel-sized stoves.

According to Sky News, Mariupol was one of the fiercest battlegrounds in the Russian campaign in Ukraine. Russian planes increasingly bombed but could not penetrate the fortified defense here.

Even Russian President Vladimir Putin more than 3 weeks ago continued to direct the force of this country to surround the factory so that “not even a fly can get through”. However, military analysts say that if the underground system at Azovstal ensures food, water and ammunition, gaining control over this place will be difficult to achieve.

The bunker systems in Europe


According to Foreign Policyas well as the underground bunkers built at the two factories above, many European countries also have bunker and they haven’t been used since World War 2. During the days when the city of Odessa (Ukraine) was bombed, a bunker was converted into a children’s hospital. In Europe, since the end of the Cold War, the threat of bombs and bullets has never been more apparent than in recent months.

In fact, the governments of Great Britain, Germany and many other countries have taken note of civil defense after World War II, including planning to evacuate people in major cities, training people to extinguish incendiary bombs and propaganda so that people are ready in an emergency situation. In addition, there is a program to build bunkers, first in Germany and then throughout Europe. At the end of the war, when the “Iron Curtain” was erected and the strategists prepared for a conflict between the Soviet Union and the West, many governments spent millions of dollars building underground strongholds, including The British Central Government War Headquarters building in Wiltshire (pictured).

Many countries with large public bunker networks, such as Denmark, Switzerland and Sweden, have repeatedly reviewed their civil defense status. As in Germany, England and elsewhere, many bunkers were sealed up after the Cold War or converted into museums for visitors.

You are reading the article The mystery of Ukraine’s Azovstal ‘fortress’: The city in the ground

at – Source: – Read the original article here

Back to top button