In a concerning development, an overnight Russian air strike targeted the southern Ukrainian region of Odesa, resulting in “significant damage” to port infrastructure and the destruction of some grain storage facilities, according to Ukrainian officials on Monday.
Fortunately, no casualties were reported in the attack on Odesa. However, a separate Russian air strike on the town of Beryslav in the southern Kherson region claimed at least one life, as confirmed by regional governor Oleksandr Prokudin.
Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko expressed her dismay, stating, “Another massive attack on Odesa! … The attack resulted in the destruction of grain storage facilities and significant damage to the seaport.”
Oleh Kiper, the Odesa region governor, revealed that the damaged facilities held nearly 1,000 tons of grain.
Russia’s defense ministry also reported Ukrainian attacks overnight, citing the downing of drones over the northwestern part of the Black Sea, over Crimea, and over the Russian regions of Kursk and Belgorod. However, they did not mention any fatalities.
The Russian attack on Odesa is the latest in a series of missile and drone strikes that Kyiv alleges are aimed at preventing Ukraine, a significant grain producer and exporter, from shipping its agricultural products worldwide.
Ukraine’s southern military command confirmed the extent of the damage to the seaport, adding that a hotel that was not in use also caught fire.
Ukrainian air defenses claimed to have intercepted and destroyed 19 Iranian-made Shahed drones and 11 cruise missiles overnight, with the majority targeting the Odesa region. Additionally, two hypersonic missiles fired by Russia reportedly led to the destruction of grain storage facilities.
Governor Kiper mentioned that a woman was injured by shrapnel and was subsequently hospitalized. The energy ministry reported damage to power grids, resulting in power outages affecting over 1,000 consumers in the Odesa region.
Russia’s decision in mid-July to withdraw from a U.N.-brokered deal, which had previously allowed safe shipments of grain via the Black Sea, has significantly impacted Ukraine’s ability to export grain. Moscow cited insufficient improvements in its own exports as the reason for its withdrawal.
In response, Kyiv has increasingly relied on alternative transportation routes, including the Danube River, road, and rail, to ship its grain. Additionally, Ukraine has established a “humanitarian corridor” along the Black Sea coast to facilitate the shipment of grain to African and Asian markets.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry characterized the latest attack as “a pathetic attempt” to retaliate for Kyiv’s strike on Russia’s Black Sea navy headquarters, which occurred on Friday.