Russia says it will do “everything necessary” to allow specialists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine amid fears over the plant’s safety due to shelling.

Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, was captured by Russia in March shortly after its invasion of Ukraine. The plant has come under fire in recent days, with Moscow and Kyiv blaming each other for the shelling, which they both say risks a nuclear accident. Read full story

“In close cooperation with the Agency and its leadership, we will do everything necessary for the IAEA specialists to be at the station and give a truthful assessment of the destructive actions of the Ukrainian side,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement published on Monday.

While Russia says Ukraine is recklessly firing at the plant, Kyiv says Russian troops have struck it themselves so as to blame Ukraine for any subsequent power cuts. Ukrainian officials also say Russian forces are using the plant for cover while they bombard nearby Ukrainian-held towns and cities.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last week called for a halt to all fighting near the plant. Read full story

Russia’s permanent representative to the IAEA was quoted as saying that a visit to the plant by the agency will be worked out in the near future but that obstacles remain.

“For us, the most important thing is to ensure the absolute security of the international mission,” RIA cited Mikhail Ulyanov as saying.