U.N. team reach Ukraine nuclear plant, as violence flares

STORY: A U.N. inspection team pressed on with their visit to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant on Thursday (August 31) despite more fighting in the area.

This video, obtained by Reuters, is said to show an explosion in Enerhodar, the town where the power plant is located.

The delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, was left waiting at a Ukrainian checkpoint amid fresh shelling around the plant.

Russia's defense ministry says it thwarted an attempt by a Ukrainian “sabotage group” to seize the plant on Thursday, in what it called a “provocation” aimed at disrupting the site’s inspection.

Reuters journalists were with the IAEA’s convoy, but were ordered to turn back for their safety.

This was the IAEA’s Director General, Rafael Grossi:

"We are moving. We are aware of the current situation. There has been increased military activity, including this morning, until very recently, a few minutes ago. I have been briefed by the Ukrainian regional military commander here about that and the inherent risks. But, weighing the pros and cons, and having come so far, we are not stopping. We are moving now.”

Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of trying to sabotage the inspection which comes amid international concern about the safety of the nuclear plant.

Kyiv says one of its reactors was shut down by Thursday's shelling.

Reuters could not immediately verify the reports.

Conditions at what is Europe’s largest nuclear plant have been unraveling for weeks, with both sides trading blame for strikes.

Anatoliy Skaletskiy lives in Enerhodar. It was hit by shelling on Wednesday (August 31).

"It's enough to blow one nuclear waste container and there will be radiation. It will not be pretty for Ukraine, Russia or Europe."

On Wednesday authorities in Zaporizhzhia released video showing drills taking place, in the event of radiation fallout.

Elsewhere, both sides have claimed battlefield successes amid a new Ukrainian push to recapture territory in the south.

Kyiv has described the offensive as a “slow process.”

But Moscow has denied reports of Ukrainian progress and said its troops had routed Ukrainian forces.

Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.