Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling
Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during shelling Zaporizhzhya NPP via YouTube/via REUTERS

Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed for a team of independent inspectors to travel to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant via Ukraine, the French presidency said on Friday, reported the AFP news agency.

The apparent resolution of a dispute over whether inspectors travel to the plant via Ukraine or Russia came as a senior US defense official said Ukraine's forces had brought the Russian advance to a halt.

French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Putin had "reconsidered the demand" that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) travel through Russia to the site, after the Russian leader himself warned fighting there could bring about a "catastrophe".

It specified that Putin had dropped his demand that the IAEA team travel to the site via Russia, saying it could arrive via Ukraine, according to AFP.

The UN nuclear watchdog's chief, Rafael Grossi, "welcomed recent statements indicating that both Ukraine and Russia supported the IAEA's aim to send a mission to" the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

The agency was "in active consultations with all parties" towards sending one as soon as possible, Grossi said.

Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres urged Moscow's forces occupying the Zaporizhzhia plant in south Ukraine not to disconnect the facility from the grid and potentially cut supplies to millions of Ukrainians.

Russian forces occupied Zaporizhzhia in March, shortly after the start of the Russian war on Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the nuclear installation, which is the largest in Europe, sparking fears of a nuclear accident.

Last week, the UN demanded an end to the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Previously, Grossi warned that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is “completely out of control.”

At the start of the Ukraine war, Russian forces had also seized the spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear accident at a now-defunct power plant.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)