Putin launches relentless attack on Ukrainian port ahead of crunch talks

Russia launched a wave of drone attacks on one of Ukraine’s largest ports for exporting grain, lasting more than three and a half hours.

For the second night in a row Vladimir Putin’s army targeted civilian infrastructure along the Danube River in the Odesa region that borders Nato member Romania.

The towns of Izmail, Kiliya, and Prymorske were all under attack, with warehouses, agricultural machinery, and industrial gear incinerated.

Drone debris also set a number of buildings alight, with firefighters still battling to contain the flames.

Ukraine’s Air Force urged residents of Izmail port, one of the country’s two major grain-exporting facilities on the river, to seek shelter.

About 17 drones were shot down, but some hit their targets in the broader Izmail area, governor Oleh Kiper said on Telegram.

He added that according to preliminary information, there were no casualties or injuries.

This comes just hours before the Russian president and his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, are due to hold talks over the Black Sea grain deal.

The two were to meet today in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi as Turkey and the United Nations seek to revive the Ukraine grain export deal that helped ease a global food crisis.

Speculation about when and where the two leaders might meet has been ongoing for weeks.

Russia quit the deal in July – a year after it was brokered by the UN and Turkey – complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced obstacles and that not enough Ukrainian grain was going to countries in need.

Since then, the country has launched frequent attacks on the ports of the Danube River, with some drones hitting targets a few hundred meters from Romania.

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