It is no secret that Russia has coveted this jewel in Ukraine’s industrial crown for many years. Control would give it not only strategic advantage in dictating energy policy to Ukraine, as Energoatom produces more than half of Ukraine’s electric power and is vital for Ukraine’s energy security during the winter. It would also enable Moscow to reverse the steps taken by the current management of the company to diversify supply of nuclear fuel, to build nuclear waste storage facilities in Ukraine, working with Western suppliers such as Holtec and Westinghouse to make Ukraine energy independent.
Nothing would suit Russia better than to return to the old soviet crony style of doing business with monopolistic supply of Russian materials and anti-competitive services from Russian contractors, rewarded with handsome commissions to the corrupt intermediaries in the Ukrainian State Administration that they like to do business with.
The stakes are big, because not only are these huge multi-billion dollar contracts in their own right, but Ukraine has successfully demonstrated to other EU countries which themselves have Russian built nuclear reactors that there is an alternative to relying 100% on the supply of nuclear fuel from Russia. By opening an industrial front in parallel to its military threats, Russia could win this commercial battle without firing a single shot.
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