Russia strikes Ukrainian port as Putin says he won’t renew grain-exporting deal


Russia launched an overnight air attack on one of Ukraine’s major grain-exporting ports, damaging warehouses and setting buildings on fire, Ukraine said. It came hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A prolonged drone assault on the Danube River port of Izmail, in Ukraine’s Odesa region, hit warehouses and production buildings, and drone debris set several civilian infrastructure buildings on fire, the governor of the Odesa region said.

Putin and Erdogan met Monday in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, as Ankara and the United Nations seek to revive a Ukraine grain export deal that helped ease a global food crisis.

Afterward, Putin reiterated that the deal allowing Ukraine to export grain safely through the Black Sea won’t be restored until the West meets its obligations to facilitate Russian exports of food and fertilizer.

Russia quit the deal in July — a year after it was brokered by the UN and Turkey — complaining that its own agricultural exports faced obstacles and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need, although Russia shipped record amounts of wheat since last year.

Russian state news agency RIA earlier quoted Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov as saying no documents were expected to be signed at the conclusion of the talks.

After quitting the Black Sea grain deal, Moscow has launched frequent attacks on the ports of the Danube River, which has since become Ukraine’s major route for exporting grain.

WATCH | No breakthrough on Russia-Ukraine grain deal: 

Turkish president aims to restart Russia-Ukraine grain deal

Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian resort of Sochi. The Turkish president is attempting to get Russia back into a deal that allowed Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain out of its Black Sea ports.

About 17 drones were shot down, but some hit their targets in the broader Izmail area, Gov. Oleh Kiper said on the Telegram messaging app. He added that according to preliminary reports, there were no casualties or injuries.

Monday’s attack followed Russia’s strikes on Sunday on the other major Danube port of Reni; the port’s infrastructure was damaged and at least two people were injured.

A cargo ship is seen travelling on a placid sea amid fog.
Russia quit a grain deal in July, one year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, complaining that its own food and fertilizer exports faced obstacles and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need. (AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine said Russian drones had also detonated on the territory of NATO member Romania during the overnight airstrikes, but the Romanian Defence Ministry denied its territory had been hit.

“The Ministry of Defence categorically denies information from the public space regarding a so-called overnight situation during which Russian drones would have fallen in Romania’s national territory,” it said.

“At no time did Russia’s means of attack generate direct military threats on Romanian national territory or waters.”

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