Russia-Africa Summit To Discuss Moscow’s Grain, Fertilizer Exports

Two drones were reported to have hit buildings in Moscow early on July 24, according to the mayor of the Russian capital, with media reports saying debris was found not far from Defense Ministry headquarters.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Telegram that two drones “were suppressed and crashed,” and blamed the Ukrainian military.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram that two nonresidential buildings were struck at around 4 a.m. He said there was no “serious damage or casualties.”

Meanwhile, late on July 24, Ukrainian authorities said one child was killed and six other people injured in a Russian strike on the city of Kostyantynivka in eastern Ukraine.

Among the injured were four children: three girls aged 5, 11, and 12, and an 11-year-old boy, said regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko.

Kyrylenko said Smerch self-propelled grenade launchers with cluster munitions were used. The report could not immediately be verified.

The reports come a day after at least one person was killed, 22 wounded, and a historic Orthodox cathedral seriously damaged in a Russian missile attack on the Ukrainian Black Sea port city of Odesa.

It also comes amid a report on July 24 of a Russian drone attack on a key Danube River grain export route for Ukraine very close to the border with NATO and EU member Romania.

Russia’s military has launched military strikes on Odesa and other Ukrainian food-export facilities in recent days after the Kremlin withdrew from a UN-brokered sea-corridor agreement that allowed for the safe shipment of Ukrainian grain. Kyiv has accused Moscow of targeting grain supplies and infrastructure vital to the deal.

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The Ukrainian military has not commented on the reported drone strikes in Moscow on July 24. Ukraine almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

However, AFP later quoted a Ukrainian defense source as saying the attack was a “special operation” by Ukrainian military intelligence, although the claim could not be independently verified.

The Russian state-run TASS news agency, citing emergency services, said that drone fragments were found near a building on Komsomolsky Prospekt in central Moscow. The site is about 2 kilometers from the Defense Ministry’s buildings.

State-run media also reported that a high-rise office building was damaged on Likhachev Prospekt in the south of the Russian capital.

Both streets were closed to traffic, Russian state-run media reported.

Russian Telegram channels posted videos and photos of what they said was the damaged buildings.

Elsewhere, Russian forces struck port infrastructure on the Danube River in southern Ukraine with exploding drones early on July 24, wounding seven workers and destroying a grain hangar and storage for other cargo, the Ukrainian military said. It said that Ukrainian forces downed three of the drones.

“The Russian terrorists have again attacked the Odesa region overnight. Port infrastructure on the Danube River is the target this time,” regional Governor Oleh Kiper wrote on Telegram.

Citing a local official, news website Reni-Odesa said three grain warehouses had been destroyed in the Danube port city of Reni in an attack involving about 15 drones.

Reni lies just across the Danube from NATO and European Union member Romania.

That proximity was noted by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in a post on Twitter condemning the Danube attack.

Meanwhile, Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar said on July 24 that the Ukrainian military had retaken over 12 square kilometers of territory in southern Ukraine in the past week in the counteroffensive against Russian invading forces.

Malyar said Ukrainian forces had recaptured a total of more than 192 square kilometers in the southern sector since the counteroffensive began in early June.

Malyar said Ukrainian forces were continuing to advance in several areas toward Melitopol and Berdyansk in the southern region of Zaporizhzhya.

In Crimea, a Russian-installed official in Crimea said an ammunition depot was hit during what he said was a Ukraine drone attack on Dzhankoy.

Sergei Aksyonov, the Kremlin-installed leader of Crimea, which Moscow seized control of in 2014, said a residential building was also damaged in the area.

Aksyonov also said on Telegram that “for safety reasons” railway and road traffic in the area had been suspended.

Late on July 24, Russia-installed authorities said road traffic on the Crimea Bridge connecting Russia with the occupied peninsula had been temporarily halted, without giving a reason.

Russia has a military air base near Dzhankoy. Ukrainian officials have long said the city and surrounding areas have been turned into Moscow’s largest military base in Crimea.

The Russian Defense Ministry later claimed that Ukraine tried to attack Crimea overnight using 17 drones, but that the attack was foiled and that there were no casualties.

It said 11 of the drones crashed into the Black Sea after being repressed by anti-drone equipment, three fell on Crimean territory, and three were destroyed by air defenses.

With reporting from Reuters

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