A view shows the local administration headquarters damaged by recent shelling in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, on Wednesday. Reuters
Ukrainian officials on Thursday accused Russia of attacking a city housing Europe's largest nuclear plant ahead of a visit by UN inspectors.
Since dawn, Moscow's troops "shelled Energodar with mortars and used automatic weapons and rockets," mayor Dmytro Orlov said on Telegram, publishing photos of damaged buildings with spiralling smoke in the Russian-occupied territory.
In an earlier report, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission set off from the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia towards the nuclear power plant in the Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar on Thursday, despite reports of intense shelling there.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi talks to the press on Wednesday. AFP
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the mission was aware of "increased military activity in the area" but was pressing ahead with its plan to visit the facility and meet its staff.
UN nuclear experts are due to visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine's south on Thursday to assess any damage, as both sides in the conflict reported new shelling in the nearby town of Enerhodar.
Conditions at the plant, Europe's largest, have been unravelling for weeks, with Moscow and Kyiv trading blame for nearby shelling and fuelling fears of a radiation disaster.
UN vehicles with members of IAEA mission depart for visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Kyiv. Reuters
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission arrived in the city of Zaporizhzhia, 55 km (34 miles) from the plant, on Wednesday and Ukraine's defence ministry said it was scheduled to visit the facility on Thursday.
"It's a mission that seeks to prevent a nuclear accident," IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters in Zaporizhzhia.