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Russian oil and grain exports halted after Ukraine drone strike near Black Sea port

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Novorossiysk submarineRussian Novorossiysk submarine.


  • Ukraine launched a sea drone strike on a Russian naval ship near the port of Novorossiysk.
  • The commodities shipping hub shut down for a few hours, halting exports of oil and grain.
  • It follows a wave of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s ports and export facilities.

A Ukrainian drone strike damaged a Russian ship near the port of Novorossiysk, forcing the key export hub for Moscow’s oil and grain to temporarily halt traffic.

With help from the Ukrainian navy, security services sent two sea drones to carry out the attack, sources told the Financial Times, though Kyiv officially did not take responsibility.

While denied by Russian officials, video of the attack on the Olenegorsky Gornyak appeared to show the amphibious assault ship sustained damage and needed to be towed.

The port of Novorossiysk is home to a Russian navy base and exports about 600,000 barrels of oil a day. 

After the drone attack, wheat futures jumped as much as 3.5% Friday morning, while Brent crude futures rose 0.6%.

The attack was preceded by a number of Russian assaults on Kyiv’s grain export infrastructure these past weeks, such as Wednesday drone strike on Ukraine’s primary inland port on the Danube River. 

According to Reuters, the attack damaged 40,000 tons of grain headed towards African nations, as well as China and Israel.

“Moscow is waging a battle for a global catastrophe,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address that followed. “In their madness, they need world food markets to collapse, they need a price crisis, they need disruptions in supplies.”

The Kremlin’s attacks came after it refused to extend a key grain deal held with Ukraine that helped secure safe passage for 33 million tons of crop exports since the deal was reached in July 2022.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s drone strike adds a new threat to Russia’s commodity outflows, which are already limited Western sanctions and price caps.  

The attack is unlikely to be a one-off event, drone-expert Stephen Wright told Insider, but only signals more to come. Ukraine is focusing on building bigger and more powerful sea drones, and wants to “get more explosives on board” to ramp up its attacks, he said.

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