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Russia strikes Ukraine port, driving up global grain prices

KYIV: Russia attacked Ukraine’s main inland port across the Danube River from Romania on Wednesday, sending global food prices higher as it ramped up its use of force to prevent Ukraine from exporting grain.

The drone attacks destroyed buildings in the port of Izmail and halted ships as they prepared to arrive there to load with Ukrainian grain in defiance of a de-facto blockade Russia reimposed in mid-July.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the Russian attacks damaged almost 40,000 tons of grain which had been destined for countries in Africa as well as China and Israel.

“Moscow is waging a battle for a global catastrophe,” President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address.

“In their madness, they need world food markets to collapse, they need a price crisis, they need disruptions in supplies.” Kubrakov, writing on Facebook, said the Danube ports’ infrastructure had been “devastated”.

“Ukrainian grain is indispensable for the world and cannot be replaced by any other country in the coming years,” he wrote.

“The port of Izmail suffered the most damage, including the terminal and infrastructure of the Danube Shipping Company.”

Russian state news agency RIA said the port and grain infrastructure hit was housing foreign mercenaries and military hardware. A naval ship repair yard was also targeted, it said.

RIA provided no evidence to back up its assertion and Reuters was not able to verify the report.

Video released by Ukrainian authorities showed firefighters on ladders battling a blaze high in a building covered with broken windows. Several other large buildings were in ruins, and grain spilled out of at least two wrecked silos.

There were no reports of casualties, Odesa regional governor Oleh Kiper wrote in a post on the Telegram messaging app.

– Reuters