Ukraine says Russia hits key grain export route with drones in attack on “global food security”


Dnipro, Ukraine — Russia unleashed a drone attack Wednesday on a key river port in southern Ukraine, again targeting vital infrastructure used to export grain from the country. The Reuters news agency quoted sources as saying operations at Ukraine’s Izmail port, just across the Danube river from Romania, had to be suspended due to damage caused by the strike.

The river port had become the primary route for grain exports from Ukraine since Russia once again blocked shipping from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports last month, when Moscow pulled out of a year-long agreement to enable the shipments to continue.

“Unfortunately, there are damages,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a social media post after the drone attack on Monday. “The most significant ones are in the south of the country. Russian terrorists have once again attacked ports, grain, global food security.”

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Reuters said the attack had sent global food prices rising again — a direct impact of Russia’s blockade and attacks on Ukrainian ports that officials in the country, in Washington and at the United Nations had warned about since Moscow pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17.

The U.N. Security Council, currently chaired by the U.S. delegation, was scheduled to hold an open debate on Thursday morning in New York on “famine and conflict-induced global food insecurity,” which was likely to focus on Russia’s actions in Ukraine and their impact on global food prices.

Ukrainian officials said more than 10 Russian drones were brought down by air defenses over the capital city of Kyiv on Wednesday as the others slammed into the Danube port, which is in the far southwest corner of the country.

Russian drone attack on Odesa port infrastructure
An inspector surveys damage at a grain port facility after a reported attack by Russian military drones, in Izmail, Odesa region, Ukraine, August 2, 2023.

Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office/Handout/REUTERS

The salvo of explosive-laden drones came a day after Ukrainian drones struck a skyscraper in Moscow for the second time in two days. Wednesday was the fourth consecutive day of back-and-forth drone strikes between Russia and Ukraine.

Kyiv’s mayor said anti-aircraft units had taken out all of the drones that were aimed at the capital, but debris fell over several districts, causing some damage to the facades of buildings. There were no deaths or injuries reported from the latest Russian aerial assault, however.

Rescuers clear debris after a Russian drone hit an educational establishment in the northeast city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, August 1, 2023.


In attacks across Ukraine on Tuesday, four Russian drones hit a college in the northeast city of Kharkiv and shelling blew the roof off a hospital in Kherson, in the southeast. That attack killed a doctor on his first day at work and left five of his colleagues wounded, according to Ukrainian officials.

The strikes are seen as Russia’s answer to Ukraine’s attempt to bring the war to Russian soil, as Zelenskyy himself pledged to do over the weekend. So far, Russia’s attacks have proven much deadlier.

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