Energy resources, trade ports, food: what will Russia get together with the DPR, LPR, Kherson region and Zaporozhye

Metallurgy - the main enterprises of the Donbass currently operating

Metallurgy – the main enterprises of the Donbass currently operating

A photo: Roman IGNATIEV

“Donbass is the supporting edge of the state”, which gives the country coal and steel. And the Azov chernozems are one of the main granaries. We were told this in the lessons at the Soviet school. A lot has changed since then. KP.RU figured out how.


Metallurgy is the main of the currently operating enterprises of Donbass. Since May 2021, as branches of the Southern Mining and Metallurgical Complex, the Yenakievsky Metallurgical Plant, the Makeevka Metallurgical Plant, Makeevkoks, the Yasinovka Coke and the Komsomolsk Mining Administration have been restarted in the DPR, and the Alchevsk Metallurgical Plant and the Stakhanov Ferroalloy Plant in the LPR. Their main product is steel.

In August, the first batch of iron ore from the Zaporozhye region, from the Zaporozhye iron ore plant, arrived at the Donbass plants. This is important – the full cycle of metallurgical production is being restored in the form in which it was before 2014. The port in Mariupol is now also available, through which metallurgical products were traditionally exported.

According to the general director of the Southern Mining and Metallurgical Complex Yevgeny Yurchenko, it will take about a year to bring back to life the “lion’s share” of metal-producing enterprises in the Donbass. For a complete recovery of the industry – a few years.

Some of the backbone metallurgical enterprises were badly damaged due to hostilities. This is primarily the Mariupol Metallurgical Plant named after. Ilyich (as follows from the reports of the Industrial Development Fund of the Donetsk People’s Republic, work is already underway to resume its activities) and the Azovstal plant, known in the last year mainly from combat reports.

The port in Mariupol is now available, through which metallurgical products were traditionally exported

The port in Mariupol is now available, through which metallurgical products were traditionally exported

A photo: Ivan ZHILYAK


Together with the new territories, Russia will receive a number of former leaders of the Ukrainian electric power industry. Within Russia, plus about 15 GW of installed capacity is not a very significant amount. But it is important for these territories themselves and Crimea, including for the stable and independent operation of industrial enterprises. And it is essential for Ukraine, it is about 35% of all its former capacities (43 GW). Only the Zaporozhye region provided about 25% of Ukraine’s electricity.

The main acquisition is the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe (installed capacity is almost 6,000 MW, a fifth of the annual electricity production in Ukraine). In Energodar, besides it, there is Zaporizhzhya TPP.

The famous DneproGES is also in Zaporozhye, but so far under Ukrainian control.

And now let’s go back to the Donbass. Donbasenergo in Soviet times was considered one of the largest energy enterprises in the country. What now? Starobeshevskaya TPP – once one of the largest power plants in Europe – is under the control of the DPR, is undergoing modernization and is actively recruiting personnel (fresh post on the VKontakte page – Internet network installers are required).

Slavyanska TPP – in the territory controlled by Ukraine, has now been stopped.

The Luhansk CHPP has been operating since spring, after painstaking work on demining, clearing ammunition and other traces of hostilities.

Zaporozhye NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe

Zaporozhye NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe


The main problem of the Ukrainian energy “legacy” is that the equipment at most stations has not been updated for a long time and serious modernization is required. This is if we ignore the damage due to shelling. Even at the relatively new, by Ukrainian standards, Zaporozhye NPP (built in the 80s), after 2030, the decommissioning of power units that have run out of time should already begin. Repair and modernization of the giant station will now be a headache for Russia.


Donbass in Soviet times was associated with anthracite. This is a very high quality and the most expensive coal with high heat transfer. It is he who accounts for about a third of the Donbass coal reserves (mainly in the Donetsk region). Coking coal (for the metallurgical industry) and energy (used to generate electricity) are also mined.

Most of the operating mines in the DPR and LPR remained state-owned (as in Ukrainian times).

According to the program of socio-economic development of the DPR, in 2022 it was supposed to produce 5.6 million tons of coal, in 2023 – over 7.6 million tons, in 2024 – more than 8.4 million tons. The Donetsk authorities announced these figures in November. In total – 22 million tons in three years.

Vostokugol (a state-owned enterprise that includes the coal industry of the LPR) planned to bring to the surface more than 8.5 million tons in 2022.

These, to be honest, are not very significant numbers (243 million tons of coal were mined in Kuzbass in 2021). But the potential of the region, according to estimates, is much higher than the current figures – 23-25 ​​million tons in the full borders of the former Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Most of the operating mines in the DPR and LPR remained state-owned

Most of the operating mines in the DPR and LPR remained state-owned

A photo: Viktor GUSEINOV


Melitopol cherries, Kherson tomatoes and watermelons are original brands that have remained in memory since Soviet times.

Fertile black earth is the main asset of the Kherson region and the south of Zaporozhye. On the territory of the Kherson region alone, there are about 2 million hectares of agricultural land with the largest area of ​​arable land in Ukraine. And unlike a number of legendary industrial enterprises, they have not gone away.

According to estimates, the Kherson region can grow at least 2 million tons of food grains, 1 million tons of vegetables and watermelons with melons, 35 thousand tons of rice, 100 thousand tons of fruits, 50 thousand tons of grapes per year. The cost of their production here is lower than in most southern Russian regions. Anyway, for today.

The main crop in Zaporozhye is sunflower

The main crop in Zaporozhye is sunflower

A photo: REUTERS

Tomatoes, cabbage, onions, sweet peppers, eggplants – all this grows well and is traditionally grown in the Kherson region. The region is also famous for orchards – apricots, peaches, cherries, apples and plums.

This does not include wheat. As well as sunflower, soybeans, rapeseed.

The main crop in Zaporozhye is sunflower. And, as in the Kherson region, fruits and vegetables.


Russia now controls the entire Sea of ​​Azov. And got several ports. In addition to Mariupol, these are the lesser-known Berdyansk and Skadovsk. However, they have been in decline in recent years.


In pre-war times, the Donetsk and Lugansk regions alone accounted for almost a third of Ukraine’s industrial output. Now a significant part of these enterprises does not work. For example, the Lisichansky Oil Refinery, once the second largest in Ukraine, periodically found itself in the battle zone. The Stirol concern in Gorlovka, once one of Europe’s largest producers of mineral fertilizers, is idle. It is desirable to launch the production of explosive ammonium nitrate with a full guarantee that there will be no shelling.

There is also an oil refinery in Kherson, but it is temporarily closed.

From the good: the Melitopol plant of autotractor spare parts is already again supplying components for agricultural machinery to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. Last year, the company produced a completely different kind of spare parts – for anti-aircraft guns and other military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But now it has returned to its former peaceful activities. By Russian standards, Melitopol products are inexpensive, which is why they are in demand.


Economist Denis Raksha:

– So far, we can talk about the potential of these regions, mainly based on hypotheses. The industry in these areas is severely destroyed. Huge restoration costs will be required, but it is unrealistic to count them now. It is not clear how long the recovery will take. Because the infrastructure is also destroyed, without which the industry cannot work. Plus, it is necessary to establish a peaceful life – to provide people with hospitals, schools and other social support. And this is also an additional cost.

Another moment is “in the red” – the most economically active part of the population of these regions is either at war or has left, there are problems with the labor force. It is already clear that builders from Russia, including our guest workers, are going there to restore the infrastructure.

Of the “pluses” – a land corridor to the Crimea appeared. It reduces the cost of deliveries in both directions – in comparison with a detour through the Crimean bridge. The canal through which water flows to the Crimea has been opened. Unlike industrial assets such as the Zaporizhzhya NPP, which have yet to be dealt with, including with repairs, these “advantages” can already be used.

In addition, we now have the entire Sea of ​​Azov and an additional port with export opportunities – in Mariupol. What can we export from there, taking into account the sanctions? Just the other day, US President Biden, speaking at the UN General Assembly, said that there are no sanctions against Russian food and fertilizers. Of course, you need to look at the logistics. The Mariupol port is specific – it was originally intended for the export of products from Azovstal and the supply of raw materials. But as an additional element of the infrastructure, it is quite possible to use it.

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