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Russian drones attack port key to Ukraine grain deal in Odesa region

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Ukraine said Tuesday that Russian attack drones overnight had targeted grain facilities at a southern port in the Odesa region, which houses three maritime terminals key to an expiring export agreement between Moscow and Kyiv.

“The air defense forces did not allow the enemy’s plan to attack the grain terminal of one of the ports of Odesa to be realized,” the regional governor Oleg Kiper said in a statement.

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The Ukrainian military said it had downed a total of 26 Russian attack drones in the latest barrage.

While the majority of the drones aimed at southern Ukraine were destroyed, “two hit the administrative building of one of the port facilities,” Kiper said.

Falling debris from the downed drones also caused “two near-port terminals, including a grain terminal” to catch fire, the governor said.

“The fire was promptly extinguished; no critical damage or casualties were recorded.”

Russia’s invasion last year saw Ukraine’s Black Sea ports blocked by warships until an agreement, signed in July 2022, allowed for the passage of critical grain exports.

The initial 120-day deal struck with the UN and Turkey has been extended but is set to expire again on July 17.

Moscow is unhappy about the operation of a parallel agreement on free exports of Russian food and fertilizer, and has said it sees no grounds for another extension.

Ukraine was one of the world’s top grain producers, and the deal has helped soothe the global food crunch triggered by the conflict.

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