MADRID, March 1 (Reuters) - Zara owner Inditex said on Friday it plans to gradually reopen stores in Ukraine from April 1 as the local market circumstances have evolved.

"The group's priority continues to be the safety of its employees and customers," the company said in statement, confirming an earlier report from The Financial Times.

The world's largest listed fast fashion company by sales said it plans to reopen its first 20 stores in Ukraine, three of them under the Zara brand and resume online sales.

Inditex closed its stores in Russia and Ukraine in March 2022 following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and subsequent Western sanctions.

Inditex had 72 stores open in Ukraine in 2019.

The Inditex plan is to reopen 50 shops in Ukraine in the coming months, the company added. (Reporting by Corina Pons and Inti Landauro, editing by Aislinn Laing)