Russian drones struck a Ukrainian port city on the Danube River, local authorities said Monday, destroying a grain hangar in an apparent escalation of efforts to cripple Ukraine’s ability to export agricultural products, one of the country’s leading industries.
The explosions in the town of Reni — just across the river from Romania, a NATO member — would be the closest Russia has come to hitting alliance territory and risking a more direct confrontation with the United States and its European allies.
Ukrainian officials and Romania’s president blamed the attack on Russia, which had spent the past week bombing Ukrainian ports near the city of Odessa after pulling out of a deal that enabled Ukraine to ship its grain across the Black Sea.
The origin of the drones could not be independently verified, and the Russian Defense Ministry made no mention of an attack in the Odessa region in its daily update on the war.
But the strike on a river port 70 miles from the coast appeared to indicate that Moscow has expanded its campaign against Ukrainian agricultural exports by targeting alternative routes for grain to global markets.
Global wheat prices, which rose last week after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea deal, rose about 6.2 percent in Monday afternoon trading.
a Local news site In Rene, a town of about 18,000, they posted a picture of what followed. The city is located more than 130 miles southwest of Odessa, the epicenter of recent attacks on shipping infrastructure, and lies on the eastern bank of the Danube, a few hundred yards from Romania.
Russia has previously fired into western Ukraine near the border with Poland, also a NATO member, but has not hit Ukrainian facilities so close to territory covered by the military alliance’s obligation to jointly respond to an attack on a member state.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Twitter that he Condemned Russia’s attack On the Ukrainian infrastructure close to his country’s borders, he said, “The recent escalation poses serious risks to security in the Black Sea,” as well as affecting Ukrainian grain shipments and global food security. He did not specifically mention the drone strike in Rennie.
Romania’s Defense Ministry said it maintains a position of “enhanced vigilance” with its allies along the alliance’s eastern flank.
“There are no possible direct military threats against our national territory or the territorial waters of Romania,” the ministry said in a statement.
The attack came after a week of increased hostilities in the Black Sea region, as Russia sent a barrage of missiles at night to the city of Odessa, while warning first Russia and then Ukraine that ships heading to the ports of its opponents could be targeted.
Pro-war Russians hailed the Danube strikes as another step towards destroying the Ukrainian economy and preventing Western arms deliveries. They said that Ukraine was taking advantage of the port of Reni’s proximity to NATO territory — and the fact that ships could approach it along the Danube without having to sail through Ukrainian territorial waters in the Black Sea — as a way to continue exporting grain and other commodities.
“It seems they are blocking the way of evading the naval blockade of Kiev,” Russian talk show host Olga Skabieva, announce On the state TV channel Russia on Monday. And soon they will completely deny Ukraine access to the Black Sea.
Popular pro-war blogger, Rybar, He claimed that the port was used to supply the Ukrainian army while also serving as a conduit for the export of grain. War Correspondent for Russian State Television, Yevgeny Poddubny, books On Telegram that the strikes were part of a “critical” mission to “break every thread of Ukraine’s maritime traffic”.
The chances of a revival of the grain initiative have grown increasingly over the past week. On Monday, Russia’s Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, claimed it had evidence that Ukraine in May imported explosives across the Black Sea to one of its ports on the Danube. The claim cannot be independently verified.
The drone attack took place over a four-hour period, Ole Kipper, head of the regional military administration, wrote on the messaging app Telegram, adding that Ukrainian air defenses shot down three drones. He said seven people were injured.
The Danube Delta, a network of waterways that criss-cross the border region between Ukraine, Romania and Moldova, was rarely used to export Ukrainian grain before Russia began its all-out invasion in February 2022, but over the past year it has become an indispensable lifeline for shipping.
Ukraine exports about two million metric tons of grain per month through its Danube ports, according to Benoit Vaio, deputy CEO of Stratégie Grains, a research firm in agricultural economics.
Mr Feud said the attack on Rennie could deter merchant ships from using the port in the short term and could raise the cost of insurance.
Yuri Chevala And Anton Troyanovsky Contribute to the preparation of reports.