The influence of non-metallic inclusions on the formation of defects in deformed steels and their role in providing crack resistance are considered. It is shown that non-metallic inclusions as stress and strain concentrators are one of the most dangerous sources of defect initiation in steels during pressure treatment. It has been established that the nature of cracks and the features of their growth near nonmetallic inclusions are determined by the type of inclusions, as well as by the scheme of the local stress state, which depends on the loading conditions. An analysis was made of the features of the initiation and development of the cracks near non-metallic inclusions of various types during tensile strain, compressive and bending deformation. It is shown that the most severe way of deformation for the inclusion-matrix system is tensile strain, the softest is compression.