There are now approximately 500 Russian troops on site, their armored vehicles cached in the turbine halls and in underground bunkers designed to shelter staff in case of a nuclear accident, according to The Economist journalists. More are garrisoned in the occupied nearby town of Enerhodar.
"The Russians use the plant like a military base. They understand that nobody from Ukraine will shell it, nobody will attack the plant directly. This is a safe place for keeping their military vehicles and their staff," Kotin was quoted as saying by the media outlet.
Kotin added that the Russians had wanted to connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Crimean grid they control, in order to steal Ukrainian electricity. But they have been unable to do so because of damage to electrical substations caused by the fighting.
"Right now, it looks like they are not making any more attempts to reconnect. They are stuck," Kotin said.