Business & Economy

Russia strikes Ukraine export facilities ahead of Putin, Erdogan grain deal talks

Kyiv/Moscow, Sep 4 (EFE).- Moscow launched overnight attacks on Ukraine grain export facilities in Odesa ahead of a meeting on Monday between Russian president Vladmir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the collapsed Black Sea Grain deal.

Ukraine’s air force said Russia launched 32 drones in the Odesa and Dnipro regions.

“The enemy has been attacking the south of the Odesa region (Izmail district) with combat drones for about two hours now,” Odesa regional chief Oleh Kiper wrote on Telegram.

“Seventeen drones were downed by our air defense units. Unfortunately, some targets were hit,” Kiper added.

Several settlements in the Izmail district, warehouse and production facilities were damaged, as well as agricultural machinery and industrial equipment, according to the official, who urged citizens early on Monday to take shelter.

Russian forces have been attacking several ports on the Danube River in the Izmail district in recent weeks.

Ukraine has been using these ports to move grain products that were previously exported through the Black Sea, which is currently in the midst of Russian military blockade after Moscow withdrew from a United Nations backed grain deal in July.

In addition to destroying valuable port infrastructure, Russia’s attacks have destroyed tens of thousands of tons of grain that were waiting to be exported.

Russia withdrew from the grain deal claiming Western sanctions were targeting its domestic fertilizer and agriculture exports and has called for an end to certain sanctions to revive the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Russian forces also destroyed four Ukrainian military boats carrying troops off the coast of the annexed Crimean peninsula, the Russian Defense Ministry reported Monday.

“Naval aviation aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed 4 ‘Willard Sea Force’ US-made high-speed military boats with landing groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Russia’s defense ministry said on Telegram.

The ministry added that the boats were heading towards Cape Tarkhankut on the Crimean coast, but provided no further details.

The attacks come ahead of a meeting in Sochi between Putin and Erdogan just days after both countries’ foreign ministers met in Moscow last week.

Turkey has repeatedly pushed for the revival of the Black Sea Initiative, which for a year allowed the safe passage of food exports from Ukraine, one the world’s leading grain producers.

At his meeting with Erdogan, Putin will table an initiative to supply 1 million tons of Russian grain to Turkey at a reduced price to be processed at Turkish plants and then exported to countries in need.

Among Russia’s demands are the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural (Rosselkhozbank) to the SWIFT payment system, the lifting of sanctions on the supply of agricultural machinery and spare parts, the unblocking of logistics and transport insurance, the unfreezing of assets and the resumption of operations of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, which was blown up in June, according to Russian news agency Tass.


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