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Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine later Thursday. The inspection is expected to take one or two days, while six to eight IAEA experts are expected to stay at the plant following the visit, according to the Russian-installed officials in Enerhodar, the town where the plant is based. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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7:37am: IAEA team ‘pressing ahead’ despite ‘increased military activity’ 

The IAEA team has set off from Zaporizhzhia city towards the nuclear power plant in the Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar despite reports of intense shelling there.

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.

6:38am: Moscow approves Japan stakes in Sakhalin energy project

Two Japanese trading houses will maintain stakes in a Russian energy project despite Tokyo joining sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine, as the Asian country looks to secure its power supply.

Moscow is transferring operation of the Sakhalin-2 oil and gas project to a new Russian firm, with foreign stakeholders required to apply for approval to maintain their interests.

Like other countries that have joined sanctions, Japan is seeking to reduce its reliance on Russian energy imports but struggling to find alternatives.

5:05am: IAEA team expected to visit Zaporizhzhia plant soon

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are expected to arrive at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine later today.

The inspection will take one or two days and six to eight IAEA experts are expected to stay at the plant following the visit, according to the Russian-installed officials in Enerhodar, the town where the plant is based.

Russian and Ukrainian forces have accused each other of shelling the plant, actions that have raised concerns about a possible nuclear disaster.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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