Ukraine said Thursday that Russia had launched a swarm of Iranian-designed attack drones overnight that damaged port infrastructure in the southern Odesa region and left one civilian dead.

Officials in Kyiv say Russian forces have been stockpiling drones and missiles for attacks on Ukraine’s struggling energy grid over winter months and key infrastructure.

“A total of 18 Shahed-136/131 attack UAVs were launched,” the Ukrainian air force said, adding that they had destroyed 15 of the unmanned aerial vehicles.

The head of the Black Sea region of Odesa, Oleg Kiper, said separately that for several hours drones attacked the Izmail port district, which has been key to exporting Ukrainian grain in recent months.

“A warehouse, an elevator, and trucks were damaged. The driver of one of the trucks was killed. A fire broke out at the site, which was quickly extinguished by the State Emergency Service,” he added.

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Russia exited a grain exports deal this summer brokered by Turkey and the UN allowing exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, and then began attacking Kyiv’s river ports leading to Romania, like Izmail.

Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last winter left millions in the cold and dark for extended periods.

Kyiv has bolstered its air defence systems since with Western arms, but says that it needs more weapons to protect vulnerable regions.

Ukraine Rushes to Create AI-Enabled War Drones
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Ukraine Rushes to Create AI-Enabled War Drones

Ukraine hopes a rollout of AI-enabled drones across the front line will help it overcome increasing signal jamming by the Russians as well as enable UAVs to work in larger groups.
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