Russian drones attack Odesa region port facilities, Ukraine capital

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Russian drones damaged port infrastructure in Odesa and targeted capital Kiev from several directions, Ukrainian authorities said Wednesday.

The army said it repelled Iraninan-made Shahed-136 drones launched from the Sea of Azov through the Black Sea that were aimed at the Odesa region.

“The enemy’s obvious target was the port and industrial infrastructure of the region. Air defence forces worked non-stop for almost 3 hours,” the Operational Command South wrote on Telegram.

The strike damaged port infrastructure, regional governor Oleg Kiper said, adding that there were no reports of casualties.

“As a result of the attack, fires broke out at the facilities of the port and industrial infrastructure of the region, and an elevator was damaged,” he said.

Russia has been pounding Odesa, a centuries-old city on the shores of the Black Sea and one of Ukraine’s main ports, since Moscow withdrew from a grain deal last month that allowed Kiev’s exports despite the war.

The landmark deal had allowed the shipment of around 33 million tonnes of grain to leave Ukrainian ports.

Formerly obscure ports, Izmail and Reni, have become crucial to global food supplies and are struggling to process all the grain, causing a massive bottleneck.

The Danube River port of Izmail is now the main export route for Ukrainian agricultural products. But these ports have also become targets: Russia attacked Reni with drones on July 24.

Last week, Kiev said it lacks the means to defend itself against strikes on its grain infrastructure carried out by Russia, which is blocking “virtually all” Ukrainian ports, according to an army spokeswoman. 

In Kiev, more than 10 Russian drones were downed during an overnight attack on the capital, the city’s military administration said early on Wednesday.

“Groups of drones entered Kiev simultaneously from several directions. However, all air targets — more than 10 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — were detected and destroyed in time by the forces and means of air defence,” said Sergiy Popko, head of the administration.

He said Russia had used a barrage of Iranian-made Shahed drones, with debris hitting several areas.

In Golosiivsky district, “parts of a drone fell on the playground” and a fire broke out in a non-residential building, he said, adding that emergency services were on the scene.

Kiev’s mayor had said earlier that the attack on the capital had damaged multiple districts, including the busy Solomyansky, which hosts an international airport.

Mayor Vitali Klitschko said no one was killed or wounded in the attack.

The administration had issued an alert for drone attacks and warned residents to stay in shelters.

An AFP correspondent heard at least three explosions in Kiev at around 3:00 am (0000 GMT).

The attacks come a day after Russia said it downed a wave of Ukrainian drones targeting Moscow, Crimea and vessels in the Black Sea. A skyscraper in Moscow’s financial district was struck for the second time in days.

On Monday, Russia said it would intensify its strikes on Ukrainian military infrastructure in response to drone attacks across its territory which it has blamed on Kiev.

Last week, Russia launched a nighttime drone attack on Kiev, with all incoming drones shot down.

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