Romania, US condemn Russia for hitting grain silos in Ukraine

A handout picture made available by Oleh Kiper, the head of the Odesa Regional Administration, shows a grain depot at the damaged grain terminal of a port on the Danube River, Odesa region, southern Ukraine, Aug. 16, 2023 (EPA via Odesa Regional Administration handout)


Romania and the United States condemned Russia for targeting grain silos and ports in the Danube River region on the Ukraine-Romania border.

“I strongly condemn the continued RU attacks on innocent people, civilian infrastructure, including grain silos in (Ukraine’s) ports of Reni & Ismail,” Romania’s Foreign Minister Luminita Odobescu posted on social media.

“By these flagrant violations of int’l law RU continues to jeopardize (global) food security & the safety of navigation in the Black Sea,” she added.

The U.S. also condemned Russia’s drone strikes on Ukraine’s Danube infrastructure, saying that it showed that President Vladimir Putin did not care about food supply for the developing world.

“It is unacceptable. Putin simply does not care about global food security,” State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.

Warehouses and grain silos were damaged in one port overnight, the regional administration of Odesa said, without naming the exact location. Ukraine has two main ports on the Danube: Reni and Izmail.

Videos on social media meanwhile showed attacks on the port of Reni.

The blazes were extinguished by the fire brigade, Governor Oleh Kiper wrote on Telegram. No one was killed or injured, he said.

Ukraine’s economy, crunched by the war, is heavily dependent on farming. Its agricultural exports, like those of Russia, are also crucial for world supplies of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food that developing nations rely on.

A month ago, the Kremlin put on hold an agreement brokered last summer by the U.N. and Türkiye to ensure safe Ukraine grain exports through the Black Sea. Since then, Kyiv has sought to reroute transport through the Danube and road and rail links into Europe. But transport costs that way are much higher, with some European countries balking at the consequences for local grain prices, and the Danube ports cannot handle anywhere near the same volumes as seaports.

Odesa’s Kiper said the primary targets of Russia’s overnight drone bombardment were port terminals and grain silos, including at the ports in the Danube delta. Air defenses managed to intercept 13 drones over Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, according to the Ukraine air force’s morning update.

It was the latest attack amid weeks of aerial strikes as Russia has targeted the Danube delta ports, which are only about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the border with Romania, a NATO member. The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river and a key transport route.

By Agencies

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