Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Worsens as Dam Explodes, European Importers Seek Vietnam Steel

Russian-Ukrainian Conflict Worsens as Dam Explodes, European Importers Seek Vietnam Steel

Steel NewsDate: 08-06-2023 by: Ngoc Cam

Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other of the collapse of the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam in the Kherson region at dawn on June 6, causing widespread flooding and threatening thousands of people living there. Sources said the blowing up of the hydroelectric power plant severely impacted steel production in Kryvyi, where AecelorMittal's Ukraine steel mill is located. Should the EU's steel market import Vietnamese products to solve the supply shortage?

1. Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of the hydroelectric dam in Kherson

According to Russia's media, the Ukrainian military carried out an airstrike on the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station with the Olkha multiple rocket launcher system. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu also accused the Ukrainians of attacking the hydroelectric dam in Kherson to hinder the advance of the Russian army.

The 30m high, 2 miles (3.2km) long dam was built in 1956 on the Dnipro River as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station and included a reservoir of 18 km3 of water. It is considered the primary source of water for the Crimean peninsula, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and ArcelorMittal.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian side also accused Russian forces of blowing up the Nova Kakhovka dam, which not only caused massive flooding in dozens of villages and cities, affecting thousands of civilians but certainly also created an ecological disaster in southern Ukraine for many years. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the collapse of the Kakhovka dam an act of "environmental destruction" and said the incident would not affect Ukraine's plans to retake territory from Russian forces.

Faced with escalating tensions, on June 6, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also stated, "Attacks against civilians and critical civilian infrastructure must be stopped immediately. We must act to ensure accountability and respect international humanitarian law."


"We express great concern about the destruction of the dam at the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station," China's ambassador to the United Nations said. The blowing up of the hydroelectric dam on the Dnipro River not only endangers the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant but also disrupts the steel supply to the relevant regions.

On the same day, the European Union (EU) offered to assist Ukraine in overcoming the consequences of the disaster so that people could soon return to everyday life and stabilize production.

2. The world steel industry was affected after the collapse of the Kakhovka dam

Besides the severe damage to agricultural activities and water supply infrastructure for residents, experts are also concerned about ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, as steel production mainly depends on Lake Kakhovka. According to the latest reports, Ukraine's AMKR mill has restricted water consumption and suspended some metallurgical, crude steel production. It is expected that it will take about 3-4 days to assess the damage and plan to restore average production.


ArcelorMittal is one of the world's largest steel corporations, estimated to be able to produce about 6 million tons of crude steel and other products per year, such as coils, rebars, and commercial steel bars for Ukraine. Three steel producers in regions under Ukraine's control - ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Kamet Steel, and Zaporizhstal - are currently operating at an average capacity of 50-60%, producing a total of 13.5 million tonnes of steel annually. 

The wars and conflicts between Ukraine and Russia will inevitably increase energy costs in Europe, leaving steel mills with no choice but to increase the selling price of their products. Many customers in the European market also stopped trading with these two countries due to the sudden and out-of-control price increase. A steel mill in Central Europe complained overnight that the cost of natural gas had increased by 55%, so it was forced to cancel purchases to avoid economic damage.


3. Kakhovka hydroelectric dam failure: How does it affect Vietnam's steel industry?

Vietnamese steel will benefit from the EU

In the context of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine, the prices of goods and raw materials, including coking coal, have increased sharply, affecting input costs for steel production and disrupting steel supplies worldwide. Russia and Ukraine are both major steel exporters, especially in the European market (accounting for 15% of the market share), along with Ukraine and Belarus, which account for 38% of the market share of steel exports to the EU. Therefore, experts say the escalation of Russia-Ukraine and the recent blowing up of a hydroelectric dam will lead to a sharp supply shortage.

However, this will create opportunities for steel exporters from other markets, including Vietnam. The sharp increase in steel prices will help countries with low steel production costs, like Vietnam.


The proportion of steel exported to the EU increased

According to the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA) report, the EU ranked third in Vietnam's steel import volume, accounting for 13% of the proportion (equivalent to 1.6 million tons) in 2021. This figure increases by more than 10% with 2020 (2.86%). The signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Vietnam and the EU (EVFTA) helps Vietnam enjoy many incentives in terms of duty rate and 0% anti-dumping duty. This has created a good premise for the EU to boost the import of cheap and quality steel in Vietnam.

Above are the latest news about the Nova Kakhovka hydroelectric dam blowing up between Russia and Ukraine and the forecasts affecting the steel industry. For any information and needs to learn about Vietnam's steel market, please get in touch with MRS Steel via Whatsapp: +84 76 911 2358 for the best support!