Russia attacks Ukrainian ports on Danube River
By Victoria Kim
Russian forces attacked Ukrainian ports on the Danube River with drones early Wednesday, damaging granaries and warehouses that are used to export grain, according to Ukrainian officials and the Defense Ministry of neighboring Romania.
The ministry condemned the attacks, on the ports of Reni and Izmail — Ukraine’s two main ports on the Danube, which lie just across the water from Romania.
Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, said Russian drones had struck two hangar-type warehouses in the port of Reni in the Odesa region. No one was injured, he said.
Ukraine’s air force said it had shot down 13 drones in the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, primarily aimed at port infrastructure, but did not detail how many got through or whether the damage had been caused by the debris of intercepted drones.
A series of attacks along the Danube in recent weeks have caused alarm, in part because of the proximity of some of the ports to Romania, a NATO member.
The Danube delta became an immediate alternative waterway for grain ships after Russia resumed its blockade last month of major Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea. But Russia soon began attacking the smaller ports on the Danube as well, bombing Ukrainian grain-loading facilities there.
On Sunday, Russian forces fired warning shots before boarding a commercial vessel heading to a Ukrainian port on the Danube, further increasing tensions around the Black Sea and continuing efforts to choke off Ukraine’s food exports.
Separately on Wednesday morning, three drones were shot down by air defenses in the Kaluga region of Russia, immediately to the southwest of the Moscow region, Russia’s Defense Ministry said. The ministry said that Ukraine was behind the attack, but that claim could not immediately be verified independently.
There have been more than a dozen attempted drone assaults in and around Moscow since May.