Russian attacks on Ukraine’s port infrastructure stepped up in the early hours of yesterday, with multiple drone strikes on Danube river ports close to the border with Romania.

The attacks, which began at 4am, were the first attempts to sabotage movements along the Danube, which handles some 5,000 teu each month, since the start of the war last February.

Odessa-based consultancy Informall BG’s Daniil Melnychenko told The Loadstar: “These acts are targeted to make it impossible for Ukraine’s food and grain exports to reach essential markets.

“The attacks have disrupted operations at these already heavily congested ports that serve as a vital passage for Ukrainian shippers.”

In fact, navigation through the Sulina and Bystre channels, leading to the Ukrainian river ports, was temporarily suspended today.

With the attacks having occurred so close to Romania – Mr Melnychenko placed them 200-250 metres from the border – they incurred the wrath of its president, Klaus Iohannis.

He said: “This recent escalation poses serious risks to security in the Black Sea. It also further affects Ukrainian grain transit and, thus, global food security.”

The drone strikes on the Danube ports came less than a week after the collapse of the deal permitting Ukrainian grain movements to continue through the Black Sea; Russia warning that “the flag countries” of cargo ships would be “considered parties to the Ukrainian conflict”.

But Mr Melnychenko stressed that while the focus had been on grain, impacts on containerships should not be overlooked.

He added: “The uninterrupted flow of containers is crucial for shipping niche grains, food and vegetable oil to remote landlocked areas. Any disruption in this flow could exacerbate the food crisis in those regions, notably Africa and the Middle East.”

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