Odessa port, key supplier of Ukrainian grain, targeted by Russian drones: governor

Ukraine said on Tuesday that Russian attack drones had overnight attacked grain plants at a southern port in the Odessa region, home to three sea terminals vital to an expiring export deal between Moscow and Kyiv.

“The air defense forces did not allow the enemy’s plan to attack the grain terminal of one of the Odessa ports to be implemented,” the region’s governor Oleg Kiper said in a statement.

The Ukrainian military said it shot down a total of 26 Russian attack drones in the recent barrage.

While most of the drones aimed at southern Ukraine were destroyed, “two hit the administration building of one of the port facilities,” Kiper said.

Falling debris from the downed drones also caused “two terminals near the port, including a grain terminal,” to catch fire, the governor said.

“The fire was extinguished promptly with no critical damage or casualties recorded.”

During last year’s Russian invasion, Ukraine’s Black Sea ports were blocked by warships until a deal signed in July 2022 allowed passage of key grain exports.

The 120-day agreement originally signed with the United Nations and Turkey has been extended but will expire again on July 17.

Moscow is unhappy with the implementation of a parallel agreement on the free export of Russian food and fertilizer and has said it sees no reason for a further extension.

Ukraine has been one of the world’s top grain producers and the deal has helped alleviate global food shortages sparked by the conflict.

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