According to the Ukrainian military, Russian missiles struck Ukraine’s southern port of Odesa overnight, causing significant damage to grain storage facilities.
Russia “attacked the south of the country again,” the Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine said on the messaging platform Telegram.
Since July when Moscow pulled out of a UN-brokered deal allowing safe grain shipments via the Black Sea, Russia has ramped up attacks on Ukraine’s grain-exporting infrastructure in the southern Odesa and Mykolaiv regions.
Nataliya Gumenyuk, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian southern military command, said Russia was apparently “trying to test out the density of the air defense.”
“They understand that port infrastructure is a priority for our region, and that it is reliably protected. However, that is why the attack that occurred tonight was both massive and by combined means,” she said on Telegram.
The Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine said Russia directed 19 drones and 2 Onyx supersonic missiles at Odesa, and fired 12 Kalibr missiles.
They claimed all 19 Shaheds and 11 Kalibrs “were shot down.”
However, Russia did “hit the port infrastructure” in Odesa, which “suffered significant damage,” they said.
“Onyx missiles destroyed granaries. But people were not hurt,” they said.
Warehouses and a private house in the Odesa suburbs were damaged and caught fire, they added, “as a result of falling debris.”
Gumenyuk said one of the grain stores hit was empty.
“Nevertheless, hitting grain deal-related infrastructure,” she said, was a Russian “priority.”
Odesa regional governor Oleg Kiper said on Telegram that one woman in Odesa, a civilian, was injured by shrapnel “in a blast wave” and was being treated in hospital.
Ukraine is testing a new Black Sea route that avoids international waters and uses those controlled by NATO members Bulgaria and Romania.
A first ship loaded with wheat reached Istanbul on Thursday despite Russian threats to attack boats heading to or from Ukraine.
A second shipment reached Turkiye on Sunday, according to maritime traffic monitoring sites.
Russia and Ukraine are two major agricultural powers whose supplies are crucial for global food security.
Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor in February last year — and subsequent international sanctions — have destabilized global supplies and markets.
Meanwhile Russia’s defense ministry said its air defenses had “destroyed” four unmanned aerial vehicles over the northwestern Black Sea, and the Crimean peninsula which Moscow annexed in 2014.
It said two drones each were intercepted in Kursk and Bryansk, two regions bordering Ukraine.
Kursk regional governor Roman Starovoyt said several homes and the roof of an administrative building were damaged “due to an attack by Ukrainian UAVs” in the Central district.
No casualties were reported.
Bryansk regional governor Aleksandr Bogomaz said there were “no casualties or damage” in the region.