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Russia strikes Ukrainian ports to block grain exports: reports

02.08.2023 12:00
Russia attacked several Ukrainian ports in the early hours of Wednesday as it steps up its use of force to block grain exports, news agencies reported.

Ukraine's defence ministry said a grain silo was damaged in the inland port of Izmail on the Danube river in the southern Odesa region.

"Ukrainian grain has the potential to feed millions of people worldwide," the Ukrainian defence ministry wrote on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, as cited by the Reuters news agency.

"However, Russia chose the path of killing, starvation, and terrorism," it added.

There were no reports of casualties.

Regional governor Oleh Kiper shared photos showing damage to a high-rise building next to a river, according to Reuters.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said: "Russian terrorists have once again attacked ports, grain, global food security."

He wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app that the most significant damage was in the south of the country.

The southern port of Izmail, across the Danube river from NATO member Romania, has served as the main alternative route for Ukraine to export its grain since Russia reimposed its blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports in mid-July, Reuters reported.

Russia last month refused to extend an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to enable Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea.

It has since relentlessly attacked Ukrainian agricultural and port infrastructure, according to news reports.

Poland's envoy to the United Nations, Krzysztof Szczerski, in May accused Russia of "weaponizing food production" as part of its war in Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, launching the largest military campaign in Europe since World War II.

Wednesday is day 525 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: Reuters, IAR, PAP, ukrinform.net