MOSCOW, Spetember 26 (RAPSI) – OAO Sberbank Chief Executive Officer German Gref has expressed support for VTB Bank which filed a lawsuit seeking 2.99 billion rubles (about $78 million) from Mechel, Russia's biggest producer of steelmaking coal, RIA Novosti reported on Friday.

"We share entirely the position of VTB," the agency quoted Gref as having said.

Sberbank will follow after VTB and file a lawsuit against Mechel to recover debts, according to Gref.

Mechel owes a large part of its $8 billion debt to Russia’s three largest lenders: VTB, Sberbank and Gazprombank.

Last Friday, VTB chief executive Andrei Kostin said that the bank had no other option than to file a lawsuit after Mechel refused to convert part of its debt into shares. Kostin added that debt restructuring would be a pointless effort.

Mechel announced on May 13 that its coal production in the first quarter decreased 13% year on year, to 5.565 million metric tons, and that its steel output fell 21% to 1.03 million metric tons. As for February 2014, Mechel’s net debt amounted to over $8 billion. Its net loss for the first nine months of 2013, calculated under US GAAP, reached $2.2 billion.