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ISW: Russia responds to NATO summit with drone strikes

by Abbey Fenbert July 12, 2023 8:09 AM 1 min read
Cranes at the grain terminal of the port of Odesa in April 2023. The terminal was targeted by Russian drone strikes on July 11, 2023. (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)
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The series of drone strikes Russian forces launched across Ukraine on July 11 were likely a show of force in response to the first day of the NATO summit in Vilnius, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) wrote.

Russian forces launched 28 Iranian-made Shahed 131 and 136 drones from the southeast on the night of July 11, the Ukrainian armed forces announced on Twitter. Ukrainian forces shot down 26 of the 28 drones.

According to the ISW's assessment, the display of agggression was calculated to coincide with the commencement of the NATO summit and to jeopardize the Black Sea grain initiative.

The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command reported that the drones targeted a grain terminal in Odesa Oblast and port infrastructure. The grain terminal was unharmed, but two drones hit an administrative building at the port.

Russian officials have expressed their displeasure over the NATO summit, at which members have rallied to consolidate military support for Ukraine. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov complained of the summit's "pronounced, concentrated anti-Russian character."

The Russian military's attacks on grain and port infrastructure also come two days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a joint announcement with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressing his wish to extend the Black Sea Grain Deal, set to expire July 18, for another three months.

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