Russian drones carried out an attack on critical port infrastructure along the Danube River in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region. This infrastructure is vital for Ukraine’s grain exports, and the attack occurred on a day when Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan were scheduled to hold talks regarding the grain export deal.
The Danube River had become Ukraine’s primary route for exporting grain since July, when Russia abandoned a UN and Turkey-brokered agreement that allowed safe passage for Kyiv’s exports of grains, oilseeds, and vegetable oils through the Black Sea.
During the attack, at least two civilians were injured, and the Ukrainian Air Force reported that they had successfully shot down 22 of the 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones launched by Russia.
While specific details about the targeted port facility were not provided, there were reports of explosions at the Reni port, one of Ukraine’s two major ports on the Danube. The Ukrainian military stated that a resulting fire at the facility had been quickly extinguished.
The Russian Defence Ministry claimed that the attack targeted fuel depots at the Reni port used by the Ukrainian military.
Reni and Izmail, the two major ports on the Danube in Ukraine, have experienced multiple attacks by Russian drones in recent weeks.
Ukraine’s President’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, accused Russian terrorists of attempting to provoke a food crisis and famine globally by targeting port infrastructure. He emphasized the seriousness of these attacks and the potential consequences they could have on the world’s food supply.
The Black Sea grain deal, reached in July 2022, aimed to address a global food crisis, with Ukraine being a major producer of grains and oilseeds. The disruption of Ukraine’s exports due to the conflict that began in February of the previous year had caused global food prices to reach record highs. Russia had expressed concerns that the deal hindered its own food and fertilizer exports while not providing enough Ukrainian grain to countries in need.
The attack on the Danube port infrastructure highlights the ongoing tensions and conflicts in the region and their potential impact on global food security.