Ukraine war: Grain depots in Ukraine hit again, rouble stabilises

A granary destroyed in a Russian drone attack at night is seen in a Danube port near Odesa.
A granary destroyed in a Russian drone attack at night is seen in a Danube port near Odesa. Copyright Odesa Regional Administration Press Office via AP
By Euronews, AFP, AP
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The latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Grain terminals in Ukraine are hit

Russia pounded grain terminals in Ukraine’s southern Odesa region on Wednesday, local officials said.

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They hit storage facilities and ports along the Danube River that Kyiv has increasingly used for grain transport to Europe after Moscow broke off a wartime export deal through the Black Sea.

At the same time, a loaded container ship stuck at the port of Odesa since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than 17 months ago set sail and was heading through the Black Sea to the Bosporus 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.

After the Kremlin tore up a month ago an agreement brokered last summer by the UN and Turkey to ensure safe Ukraine grain exports through the Black Sea, Kyiv has sought to reroute transport through the Danube and road and rail links into Europe.

However, transport costs that way are much higher, some European countries have baulked at the consequences for local grain prices, and the Danube ports can’t handle the same volume as seaports.

Odesa governor 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 defences managed to intercept 13 drones over Odesa and Mykolaiv regions, according to the Ukraine Air Force’s morning update.

Meanwhile, the container ship departing Odesa was the first vessel to set sail since July 16, according to Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister. It had been stuck in Odesa since February 2022.

Russia's currency stable after bank intervention

The rouble was stable on Wednesday, the day after the Russian Central Bank raised its key interest rate, worried that inflation would rise again and the national currency would slide.

On the Moscow Stock Exchange in the morning, it cost 96.9 roubles to buy a dollar and 106 roubles to buy a euro, rates that have been stable since the opening of trading.

The announcement of an emergency increase in the main key rate from 8.5% to 12% had already reassured the markets on Tuesday.

However, the situation before that had become very delicate: on Monday, the rouble had continued the free fall it began several weeks ago, trading at more than 100 to the dollar and 110 to the euro, the first time this had happened since March 2022, when the Russian currency collapsed in the wake of the assault on Ukraine.

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In a note published on Wednesday, analysts at Alfa Bank felt that "it is unlikely that the change in the key rate will have a lasting impact on the rouble rate", given the "limited" volumes currently being traded on the Russian foreign exchange market.

Kyiv says it has recapturedthe village of Urozhaine village

Ukraine said on Wednesday it had retaken the village of Urozhaine on the southern front, in the Donetsk region, as part of its counter-offensive against Russia.

"Urozhaine has been released. Our defenders are established nearby. The offensive continues" in the region, said the Deputy Minister of Defence, Hanna Maliar, in a press release shared on social networks.

Moscow said on Wednesday it has shot down three Ukrainian drones southwest of the capital, in what was at least the fifth attack this month over the Kaluga region. 

Ukraine launched the attack at around 5:00 a.m. local time using "three unmanned aerial vehicles on objects in the Kaluga region," Russia's defence ministry wrote on Telegram.

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"All UAVs were detected and destroyed in a timely manner by Russian air defence systems," it added.

According to Kaluga's governor Vladislav Shapsha, there were "no consequences for people and infrastructure," as he wrote on Telegram.

Zelenskyy meets troops in the Zaporizhzhia region

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Ukrainian troops and military commanders engaged in the counter-offensive against the Russian forces in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia on Tuesday.

"Today I continue to visit our combat brigades. Yesterday we were in the Donetsk region, and today, various districts of the Zaporizhzhia region, the territory of the Tavria operational and strategic group of troops," Zelenskyy said in a video shared on Telegram.

An official statement shared by his office confirmed that Zelenskyy "visited the locations of the brigades that carry out offensive operations in the Melitopol sector."

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In his video address, the Ukrainian president said he spoke with military commanders about "the needs of our warriors", adding that everything they talked about will be later shared at a staff meeting.

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