Russian forces in March captured the Soviet-era plant, Europe's largest, soon after their invasion of Ukraine. It has repeatedly come under fire in recent months, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.
"The situation around the plant continues to be very, very dangerous," Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told reporters during a visit to Ukraine. "A nuclear accident, an accident with serious radiological consequences, is in nobody's interest."
Russia downplayed the IAEA's visit and its powers.
"The IAEA has neither statutory, nor technological, nor other capabilities to prevent a nuclear catastrophe in the event of attacks on nuclear power plants," Renat Karchaa, an adviser to the CEO of Russian state energy organisation Rosenergoatom, told Russian state TASS news agency on Tuesday.
"Therefore, from this point of view, the presence of IAEA inspectors at all nuclear power plants is ineffective and is in a greater part politically motivated."
Grossi, who said he hoped to meet in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other officials, acknowledged that brokering a protection zone was taking longer than expected.
"No one wants to have this zone if it is considered ... a military advantage for one side or the other, and I am trying to convince everybody this is not the case," he said. "It's about preventing a nuclear accident."
Grossi was making his sixth visit to Ukraine since the February invasion to implement recently announced plans for a continuous presence of nuclear safety experts at all of Ukraine's nuclear facilities.
He visited the South Ukraine plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk, about 350 km (220 miles) south of Kyiv, and was also scheduled to visit plants at Chornobyl and Rivne, establishing a two-person team of IAEA experts at each facility.
The IAEA says it already has a permanent presence of up to four experts at Zaporizhzhia, and a two-member team is also expected at the Khmelnitsky plant.
Grossi, who previously said he hoped to broker a deal before the end of 2022, said last week that talks with Kyiv and Moscow had become more complicated because they involved not just diplomats, but also military officers.
Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling the Zaporizhzhia facility.
"The real toll is likely to be much higher," Liz Throssell, a spokesperson for the UN human rights office (OHCHR), told a briefing, adding that 253 of the casualties were in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
A French-Mexican draft resolution expected to be considered this week by the 193-nation UN General Assembly reiterates the world body’s March 2 demand for Russia to stop its military offensive in Ukraine and withdraw all its troops.
UNHCR, the UN's refugee agency, recorded 2,011,312 refugees on its dedicated website, 276,244 more than the previous count on Monday. UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi called it a "shocking milestone".
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, "Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world’s supply of sunflower oil and about 30 per cent of the world’s wheat” and that "grain prices have already exceeded...”
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the Israeli authorities to reduce escalation and not take steps to exacerbate tension and instability in the region.
The Crown Prince and the Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, paid a visit to Sharjah Safari in Al Bridi Reserve in Al Dhaid on Thursday.
The Burj Khalifa’s Twitter account said, “Burj Khalifa lights up in celebration of India’s Republic Day. Wishing its people prosperity and peace.”