Russia’s Monday drone attack on a major Ukraine grain exporting port damaged warehouses and set buildings on fire, Ukraine said, hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, were due to hold talks.
A 3 1/2-hour 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 were to meet on 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. Ankara called the talks vital for the deal.
Russia quit the deal in July – a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey – complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need.
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.
About 17 drones were shot down, but some hit their targets in the broader Izmail area, Governor 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, in which the port’s infrastructure was damaged and at least two people injured.