Russian forces launched a series of drone attacks on the Odesa region in southern Ukraine during an overnight assault, officials reported on Sunday. The assault, lasting more than three hours and involving over two dozen drones, targeted port infrastructure on the Danube River. Ukrainian authorities revealed that at least two civilians were injured in the attack, with Ukraine's Air Force successfully downing 22 out of 25 attack drones.
The incident is viewed as part of Russia's broader strategy to disrupt the global food supply chain, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, characterizing it as an attempt to "provoke a food crisis and hunger in the world." While Moscow has not yet commented on the attack, artillery fire was reported in eight settlements across the region, AP reported
Local Ukrainian media indicated that explosions were observed in the port city of Reni on the Danube, near Romania. The Danube River had become a critical alternative waterway for grain shipments after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain agreement in July, resuming its blockade of major Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea, including Odesa, The New York Times reported.
In response to these attacks, Ukraine had established a temporary corridor along the western Black Sea coast, facilitating the passage of civilian ships that had been stranded in Ukrainian ports due to Russia's invasion. Despite the challenges, a few vessels had successfully navigated this corridor in recent weeks.
These attacks occurred amid ongoing international efforts to revive the grain agreement, with Russia proposing an alternative arrangement to the deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The Russian proposal is set to be discussed by President Vladimir V. Putin and Turkey's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during their bilateral talks in Sochi, a Black Sea resort, on Monday. The original agreement had played a vital role in stabilizing food prices worldwide, but Moscow had raised objections about its implementation.