Salt mine on Ukrainian Frontline Remains Open Against All Odds

Non-Exclusive License $710.00

Interested in extended license to match your needs? Contact us via email or call +44 75 226 13520.

Format mpeg4, Bitrate 9.961 mbps

As the bloody military conflict in eastern Ukraine drags on, work at the country’s largest salt mine continues, even though it operates just a few kilometers from heavy fighting between Russian-backed insurgents and Ukrainian forces.

Artemsol, in the town of Soledar in the Donetsk region, employs more than 3,000 local residents. It is the lifeblood of a community that has found itself on the front lines of the violent conflict.

Workers in the mine say they cannot leave because they need their jobs to survive.

The salt mine is facing financial setbacks after Russia blocked imports of its food-grade salt amid the conflict between the two former Soviet republics. Russia’s consumer watchdog has blocked imports of some Ukrainian food products for what it says are safety concerns. Ukraine and foreign observers say Russia is targeting certain industries to punish the Ukrainian economy.

The mine’s general director, Denys Fomenko, says the government-run company is looking for more clients in Europe, but ultimately he hopes Russia will reopen its borders to Artemsol.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has forced many of the Donetsk region’s industries - mostly coal mines - to shut down. But Artemsol has managed to keep running.

Shotlist

  1. DESCENDING INTO ARTEMSOL SALT MINE
  2. VARIOUS OF WORK IN SALT MINE
  3. WORKERS CUTTING BLOCKS OF SALT
  4. WIDE OF OUTSIDE SALT PRODUCTION FACILITY
  5. SALT BEING PROCESSED AT ARTEMSOL PRODUCTION FACILITY
  6. VARIOUS OF WORKERS PACKAGING FOOD SALT
  7. PACKED SALT BEING LOADED ONTO TRAIN CAR
  8. SIGN READING “ARTEMSOL SOLEDAR"
  9. UKRAINIAN MILITARY VEHICLE DRIVING IN ARTEMIVSK

Script

  1. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksandr Serobaba, Manager: “It’s important to Ukraine and the region because it is the one working place in this city. It gives work to people who are here in this city. It’s important for the city, oblast, and Ukraine.“
  2. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksandr Serobaba, Manager: “During the war, we worked the entire time. We didn’t stop. Even during the military operation going on near here - only 30 kilometers from here - we work."
  3. soundbite (Russian)
    Aleksandr Serobaba, Manager: “Working people know not to be afraid. People work."
  4. soundbite (Russian)
    Natalia, Worker: “We hope that it won’t touch us. People can work in peace and calm. Our factory cares about our safety."
  5. soundbite (Russian)
    Natalia, Worker: “No. There is no need to run away. I’m staying here to work."
  6. soundbite (Russian)
    Lena, Worker: “We work because this is our job. What else is there to do?"
  7. soundbite (Russian)
    Mikhail Petrovich, Worker: “Scared - of course I’m scared. Only a fool wouldn’t be scared. Everyone who lives here of course is scared. If everybody runs away, who will work here? Everybody needs salt. In the morning you wake up, you need salt for your food. Your wife cooks your borsch, she needs salt. People everywhere need salt. We understand that you can’t get by without salt. You can somehow do without sugar, but salt is something that you need all the time."
  8. soundbite (Russian)
    Mikhail Petrovich, Worker: “I have a family - a wife, two sons, and two daughter-in-laws. They all work here in the community. My younger daughter-in-law worked in this facility but transferred."
  9. soundbite (Russian)
    Denys Fomenko, General Director: “The Russian market has been closed to us. Exporting food salt to Russia has stopped, although we are still supplying technical salt to the Russian market. Why did it stop? We have written the Russian consumer regulators a lot of letters about this. We have also written to our dealers network and those who work in Russia. We sent them a request to explain why exactly they banned our food salts. We hope they will soon reopen the market to us. We need the Russian market and they need our products."
  10. soundbite (Russian)
    Denys Fomenko, General Director: “Speaking about the military operation that is happening not far from our city - no more than 30 kilometers away - nobody has left. Everybody continues to work. It’s their only place to work. The city is built around Artemsol. In Soledar and Artemivsk, nobody has left, but they are scared. If something happens, people will of course become more alert. We are trying to be understanding and we will send people home early if something happens near Soledar. It happened on Friday. Artemivsk was shelled. Workers were dismissed. Some were relocated to a bomb shelter. Some small groups were given permission to leave and drive home. We tried to get our people to more secure areas."