An attack by Russia on the port of Pivdennyi on 8 November hit a commercial vessel, AgriCensus reported Ukrainian authorities as saying.

During the attack part of the Ruler, which has a deadweight of 92,000 tonnes, was hit by a missile while entering the port to load iron ore to be shipped to China, according to trade sources.

The vessel was travelling under the Liberian flag, the report said.

According to Ukrainian officials quoted in the report, this is the 21st attack by Russia, which has been targeting port areas in Ukraine since the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) deal, which had enabled Ukraine’s exports to continue, was cancelled.

The Pivdennyi attack had put the market in an uncertain position, as previously there were no reports of vessels being hit in Black Sea ports, with previous attacks targeting port infrastructure, AgriCensus wrote.

In the weeks prior to the AgriCensus report, freight rates for vessels loaded from Ukrainian Black Sea ports had been falling due to the increasing number of companies involved and more vessels being fixed.

The incident at Pivdennyi followed a major air attack by Russia on the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa on 5 November which wounded at least eight people, set trucks loaded with grain on fire and damaged one of the city's principal art galleries, according to local officials quoted in a report by Reuters the day after the assault.

In that attack, Odessa governor Oleh Kiper said 15 drones had targeted the city’s port infrastructure.

The air force was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement that Russia had launched four different missiles targeting the southern Odessa and Kherson regions.

The drones and missiles were launched from the Crimean Peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014, the report said.

At the time of the Reuters report, there was no immediate comment from Russia.

According to the head of the Ukrainian president’s office Andriy Yermak, the attack was a response to Ukrainian strikes on Crimea.