U.N. nuclear watchdog head may visit Russia soon, not this week -RIA

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi waits before departing for Ukraine on an official visit to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), at Vienna International Airport, Austria March 26, 2023. Dean Calma/IAEA/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog head will not travel to Russia this week, but a visit is possible in the near future, Russian news agency RIA reported early on Monday, citing Moscow's permanent representative to international organisations in Vienna.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi announced on Saturday that he would visit the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine this week to assess the serious situation there.

When asked if Russia planned to invite Grossi to Moscow in the near future, permanent representative Mikhail Ulyanov said that was "quite realistic", according to RIA.

"Not next week, but somewhat later, the visit of Rafael Grossi to Russia may well take place," Ulyanov added.

Grossi is pressing for a security zone to be erected around Zaporizhzhia, Europe's largest nuclear power plant with six reactors, which has come under repeated shelling during the 13-month war Russia has been waging against its neighbour.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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