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Russian drone strikes on Odesa region hit port area and cut ferry service to Romania

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KYIV, Ukraine -

 

Russia struck the Black Sea region of Odesa in a drone barrage that damaged a warehouse, charred dozens of trucks and injured two drivers in fiery explosions that led to the suspension of the ferry service between Romania and Ukraine, officials said Tuesday.

Video shot from the Romanian side of the Danube River showed rapid bursts of Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire streaking through the night sky followed by two orange fireballs exploding near the port area. Photos showed burned-out frames of trucks.

 

Romanian Border Police said ferries were anchored on the Romanian shores of the Danube in Isaccea due to the attacks on Ukraine. Traffic was being redirected through Galati, a Romanian town upstream on the Danube.

Ukraine's air force said it downed 26 of 38 drones launched by Russia overnight.

Russian forces targeted the area of Izmail in the Odesa region, in what has become a sustained campaign to target Ukraine's ability to export grain. Attacks on Monday killed two people in a grain warehouse in Odesa and badly damaged an abandoned high-rise hotel, officials said.

After Moscow pulled out of a U.N.-brokered grain deal this summer, the strikes on Izmail and cities located in the southern part of the Odesa region became routine. Attacks on the cities on the Danube have been especially damaging because the route has emerged as the most promising for continued Ukrainian exports.

At least nine civilians were killed in Ukraine and 15 people were injured over the past 24 hours, the presidential office said, as Russian strikes hit several cities near the front lines of the war where Ukraine is waging its slow-moving counteroffensive.

Although neither side has released casualty figures, the counteroffensive is believed to have taken a heavy toll on both sides and it has been devastating to the towns and villages where fighting has raged.

New aerial video footage of Klishchiivka, on the outskirts of Bakhmut, shot with a drone for The Associated Press shows how the battle has turned the village in eastern Ukraine into a pile of rubble after months of fierce fighting.

The footage shot two days ago shows the village in ruins with destroyed Russian tanks and military vehicles littering the main road. Barely a building remains intact in the village that was once home to almost 400 people.

A rare structure that still had four walls standing was missing its roof. Single walls stood like tombstones to mark where someone once lived.

Ukraine recaptured the village Sept. 17 after months of fighting, two days after it won back neighbouring Andriivka, the Ukrainian military said.

Both are tiny towns but were considered tactically important for Ukrainian forces as they extend gains around Bakhmut, 6 miles (10 kilometres) to the north.

The commanding heights of the village offer a view into the Russian-occupied town of Bakhmut and open up new opportunities for Ukrainian forces to encircle the town.

It also potentially allows Ukrainians a better view of Russian logistic lines.

In other developments:

-- A senior Russian naval officer that Ukraine claimed to have killed in a missile strike was seen attending an online conference. On Monday, Ukraine claimed without evidence that its strike on the Crimean headquarters of Russia's navy last week killed 34 officers, including fleet commander Adm. Viktor Sokolov. Russia did not comment on that report, but on Tuesday Sokolov was seen among other senior officers attending a video conference with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

-- Responding to news that American-made Abrams tanks had arrived in Ukraine and that the U.S. would be sending an unspecified number of long-range ATACMS missiles, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said they would have no impact on the battlefield. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia's Security Council who often takes a harder line, said the moves would push NATO closer to a direct conflict with Russia.

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Associated Press journalists Hanna Arhirova in Kyiv, Ukraine; Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia; Stephen McGrath in Sighisoara, Romania; and Brian Melley in London contributed to this report.

Correction

This story has been corrected to reflect that the Odesa region, not the city of Odesa, was struck by drones.

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