Russia hits Ukrainian grain depots again as a foreign ship tries out Kyiv’s new Black Sea corridor

A granary destroyed by an overnight Russian drone attack is seen Wednesday in a Danube port near Odesa, Ukraine. (Odesa Regional Administration Press Office via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian drones pounded grain storage facilities and ports along the Danube River that Ukraine has increasingly relied on as an alternative transport route to Europe, after Moscow broke off a key wartime shipping agreement using the Black Sea.

At the same time, a loaded container ship stranded at the Black Sea port of Odesa since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than 17 months ago set sail along a temporary corridor established by Ukraine for merchant shipping.


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 tore up an agreement brokered last summer by the U.N. and Turkey 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, some European countries have balked at the consequences for local grain prices, and the Danube ports can’t handle the same volume as seaports.

Odesa Gov. Oleh 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.

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.

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