Russian drone attack damages Ukraine Danube river port

Russian drones attacked a Ukrainian Danube river port and damaged grain silos and warehouses.

In this photo provided by the Odesa Regional Administration Press Office, a granary destroyed in a Russian drone attack at night is seen in a Danube port near Odesa, Ukraine, early hours Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. (Odesa Regional Administration Press Office via AP)
A granary destroyed in a Russian drone attack on a Danube river port near Odesa, Ukraine, in the early hours of August16, 2023 [Odesa Regional Administration Press Office via AP Photo]

Grain silos and warehouses were hit during successive Russian drone attacks on one of the country’s Danube river ports located near the border with Romania, a Ukrainian official said.

The governor of Ukraine’s Odesa region, Oleh Kiper, said on Wednesday that two waves of Russian drones had hit a river port in the south of the country.

Ukraine has two main ports on the Danube – Reni and Izmail – which have become central to the country’s grain exports since Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and Moscow’s recent withdrawal from a United Nations-backed agreement that had allowed grain stocks safe passage through the sea.

“Russian terrorists attacked Odesa region twice last night with attack drones. The main target is port and grain infrastructure in the south of the region,” Kiper said on the Telegram messaging app.

The governor did not specify which port was attacked.

Ukraine’s presidential office said in a separate statement that there were no casualties from the attacks. Images released by the governor showed the destroyed metal walls of port storage facilities and piles of scattered grain and sunflowers.

There was no immediate comment from Russia.

Social media groups monitoring the war reported hearing air defence systems firing near the Izmail and Reni ports earlier on Wednesday morning.

Kiper had asked residents of the Izmail district to take shelter at about 1:30am (22:30 GMT on Tuesday) and cancelled the air raid alert one hour later.

Ukraine’s Air Force said that it had destroyed 13 Russian military drones over the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions in the south of the country overnight.

It was not immediately clear how many drones Russia launched to attack the Danube river ports.

Ukraine’s Danube river ports accounted for approximately a quarter of all grain exports from Ukraine before Russia recently pulled out of the deal allowing safe passage for the export of Ukrainian grain via the country’s Black Sea ports.

Danube river ports have since become the main export route, with grain shipments sent on barges from Ukraine across the Danube to Romania and on to its Black Sea port of Constanta for onward shipment.

A Russian attack on the Izmail port in early August sent global food prices higher.

The attack by Russian drones on Ukraine’s Izmail port earlier this month was so intense that it reportedly shattered windows in Romanian villages located across the Danube, according to an Al Jazeera reporter.

Russia’s defence ministry also said on Wednesday that air defence systems had destroyed three Ukrainian drones early over the country’s Kaluga region.

There were no casualties and no damage in the attempted attack which took place at about 5am Moscow time (02:00 GMT), the ministry added.

The Kaluga region is located southwest of Moscow.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters