MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday spoke with French counterpart Catherine Colonna on the expected visit of independent inspectors to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

They “discussed in detail the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the opportunities available for organising a visit to the station by an IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) mission,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement following their phone call.

Lavrov said that Ukraine “continues to shell the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the territory adjacent to it, exposes the entire European population to the danger of a nuclear catastrophe”, it added.

Ukraine war having ‘devastating knock-on effects’: Red Cross

Recent fighting around it has raised concerns of a nuclear incident comparable to Chernobyl, with Kyiv and Moscow accusing each other of targeting the plant in strikes.

Last week presidents Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron called for an independent inspection at the atomic plant that was seized by Russia in March in the early days of Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the UN to secure the site.

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