Two of the three operational Black Sea ports in Odesa Oblast began shipping food exports again, recovering from power outages caused by Russian drone attacks over the weekend, Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA) said on Dec. 12.
USPA head Oleksiy Vostrikov said that Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi ports, located outside Odesa, resumed operations while the Odesa port is still closed. According to Vostrikov, the Dec. 10 drone strike led to a complete pause of cargo operations at Odesa and Pivdennyi ports and a partial pause at the Chornomorsk port.
The most recent Russian drone strike on energy infrastructure in Odesa Oblast left nearly the entire region without electricity on Dec. 10. Regional Governor Maksym Marchenko said that some 300,000 people still had no power at home as of Dec. 11.
“Alternative power sources” are being used to keep the ports running, Vostrikov added, but he did not indicate when the Odesa port would start shipping food exports. “It is difficult to predict the situation because we are dealing with an enemy for which there are no principles,” he said.
The power disruptions at the Black Sea ports come amid soaring food prices worldwide, exacerbating hunger in poorer countries. The heightened worries of a potential food crisis were alleviated by a July deal that allowed Ukraine to resume its grain exports via the then Russian-blockaded Black Sea, but the situation is still volatile.
Since the Black Sea Grain Initiative kicked off in August, Ukraine has exported more than 11 million metric tonnes of grain and foodstuffs from its three Black Sea ports.