A team of UN experts arrived at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia atomic plant complex on Thursday to assess the risk of a radiation disaster after being delayed several hours by shelling near the site. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said he saw what he “needed to see” at the nuclear plant that has been frequently shelled. “I think we were able in these few hours to put together a lot, a lot of information. The key things I needed to see I saw, and your explanations were very clear,” Rafael Grossi told Russian media accompanying the IAEA inspection team at the Moscow-controlled atomic plant. “The IAEA is staying here. Let the world know that the IAEA is staying at Zaporizhzhia,” Grossi, said in a video released by the Russian RIA Novosti news agency. He did not specify how many people will be staying and for how long. Russia and Ukraine earlier accused each other of trying to sabotage the mission to the plant in southern central Ukraine, which is controlled by Russian forces but operated by Ukrainian staff. Fears of a radiation leak mount near Ukrainian nuclear plant Conditions at the nuclear plant, Europ e’s largest, have been unravelling for weeks, with Moscow and Kyiv regularly trading blame for shelling in the vicinity and fuelling fears of a Chernobyl-style radiation disaster. Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom said Russian shelling had forced the shutdown of one of only two operating reactors at the site, while Moscow said it had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to seize the plant. A Reuters reporter in the nearby Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar said a residential building was struck by shelling, forcing people to take cover in a basement. It was not possible to establish who had fired. The Russian-installed Governor of Zaporizhzhia district, Yevgeny Balitsky, said at least three people had been killed and five wounded in what he said was Ukrainian shelling of Enerhodar that had also destroyed three kindergartens and the House of Culture. Power to the town had been cut in the morning, he said. Provocation Russia accused Ukrainian forces of trying to seize the plant and also of shelling both the meeting point of the IAEA delegation and the nuclear plant itself. Russia’s defence ministry said up to 60 Ukrainian troops had crossed the Dnipro river, which divides territory held by the two sides, in boats at 6:00am local time (0300 GMT), in what it said was a “provocation” aimed at disrupting the IAEA visit. The ministry said “measures had been taken” to destroy the opposing troops, including use of military aviation. A local Russian-installed official, Vladimir Rogov, later said “around 40” of the 60 Ukrainian troops had been killed. Russian troops also captured three Ukrainian servicemen during the assault on the plant, he added. Ukrainian officials have welcomed the IAEA visit, expressing hope that it will lead to the demilitarisation of the plant. They say Russia has been using the plant as a shield to hit towns, knowing it will be hard for Kyiv’s forces to return fire. They have also accused Russian forces of shelling the plant, which Russian officials deny. Reuters journalists who followed the IAEA convoy before being ordered to turn back due to the dangerous conditions said that while they were in the city of Zaporizhzhia during the night, they had seen flashes of explosions in the sky. They could not verify who was responsible. Russian-installed officials have suggested that the team from the UN nuclear watchdog would have only a day to inspect the plant, while the mission had prepared for longer. “If we are able to establish a permanent presence, or a continued presence, then it’s going to be prolonged. But this first segment is going to take a few days,” Grossi had said. Slow Process Both sides have claimed battlefield successes amid a new Ukrainian push to recapture territory in the south. “It is a very slow process, because we value people,” said Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, referring to the Ukrainian offensive. Moscow has denied reports of Ukrainian progress and said its troops had routed Ukrainian forces. Ukraine’s southern military command said it would not immediately name settlements in the south it had recaptured to avoid prompting Russian strikes on them. It also said its counteroffensive was not affecting a Black Sea corridor created to allow for exports of Ukrainian grain. Russia captured large tracts of southern Ukraine close to the Black Sea coast soon after launching its invasion on February 24 , including in the Kherson region, north of the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula. Zelensky: ‘ugly’ Russian attack before Ukraine independence; more Crimea blasts In eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian forces repelled Russian attacks in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka, towns north of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk in Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region, Kyiv’s military general staff said. Russian-backed separatists said on Thursday 13 emergency service personnel were killed and nine wounded after coming under Ukrainian artillery fire in the Russian-controlled part of the Donetsk region. Reuters was not able to independently verify the report. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities. Ukraine and the West describe Russia’s actions as an unprovoked war of aggression that has caused millions to flee, killed thousands and turned cities into rubble. Putin to let inspectors visit nuclear plant; Ukraine advance grinds to halt Russia mulls buying US$70 billion in yuan Russia is considering a plan to buy as much as US$70 billion in yuan and other “friendly” currencies this year to slow the rouble’s surge, before shifting to a longer-term strategy of selling its holdings of the Chinese currency to fund investment. The proposal is among a slew of measures that would amount to an effective repudiation of more than a decade of economic policy as the Kremlin overhauls its strategy amid sweeping sanctions imposed by the US and its allies over Vladimir Putin ’s invasion of Ukraine.