UNITED STATES/UKRAINE: The White House has made it clear that it does not endorse Ukraine’s attacks within Russian territory, in response to recent drone strikes carried out by Ukrainian forces. Russia has labeled these strikes as a “brazen act of terrorism” and threatened severe consequences for Ukraine.
The United States acknowledges that Russia instigated the war, and believes that withdrawing forces from Ukraine could bring an end to the conflict. The recent drone attack in Moscow, which gained significant attention, did not result in any casualties.
Ukrainian officials anticipate further drone attacks, as they highlight the range of their capabilities. The recent incident near Russia’s defense headquarters caused damage to Ukrainian grain facilities and left seven people injured. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis expressed concern over potential threats to security in the Black Sea region.
A Romanian filmmaker captured a video of an explosion in the Ukrainian port of Reni, located near the Danube River, caused by drones. The Danube serves as a natural boundary between Romania and Ukraine, and Ukrainian grain is exported across the Danube Delta. Romania’s foreign minister and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the situation following the explosion.
NATO remains committed to defending all NATO territories, as reiterated by the US Secretary of State. President Iohannis condemned the Russian strikes on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure near the Danube, emphasizing the risks to Black Sea security and food security. The escalation also impacts Ukrainian grain transit, which has implications for global food security.
Amidst the conflict, Russia withdrew from an agreement that previously allowed Ukrainian grain to be safely exported over the Black Sea. Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting export infrastructure and grain supply.
The State Department’s spokesperson, Matthew Miller, warns that there is no perfect solution and consultations with regional partners are ongoing to explore alternative grain export options. Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukrainian grain exports have been passing through Romania’s Constanta port.
In response to the attacks, Romania’s Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu called on Russia to cease airstrikes on Ukrainian port facilities. Romania stands ready to assist Ukraine in finding alternative grain export routes to international markets. The intensification of bombardments on alternative export channels has resulted in higher wheat prices.
The Kremlin has announced its intention to continue the “special military operation” in Ukraine, focusing on Crimea with the use of 17 drones. The operation aims to assert military control in Kyiv and western Ukraine. The recent incident caused damage to a residential structure and an ammunition warehouse.