Russian demands for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power facility

The tussle for control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is a battle within a battle.

Russia captured the nuclear plant over a year ago. Since then, Moscow has done two things: station military units inside the sprawling complex, and attempt to take control of the electricity produced there.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest power plant in Europe, responsible for generating 20% of Ukraine’s electricity supply before the war.

But it needs power to function properly. Today marks the sixth time it’s been cut off, each disconnect creating a temporary sense of crisis.

Shortly before 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT) this morning, the 750kv line bringing electricity to the plant was damaged by shelling.

It’s not clear who was responsible, but the attack came in the midst of Russia’s latest wave of attacks on Ukraine’s power infrastructure.

Engineers from Ukraine’s state energy company, Ukrenergo, repaired the line 12 hours later.

But the battle for Zaporizhzhia will rumble on. In a letter to the IAEA two days ago, Russia indicated that it had successfully connected the plant to its own grid.

Oleksandr Kharchenko, Director of Kyiv’s Energy Industry Research Centre, said he is sceptical of Moscow’s claim.

It’s not simple. Even in peacetime, it takes months,” he said

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