Russia's Novorossiisk port operating as normal after drone attacks, Ifx says

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk was operating as normal on Wednesday after an attempted Ukrainian maritime drone attack, the Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday, citing the local administration.

"There are no restrictions. Shipping goes as normal," Interfax quoted a statement from the local administration.

Novorossiisk is Russia's largest Black Sea port and a key outlet for crude oil and oil products exports and transit in Russia's south. It also loads oil coming from Kazkahstan and Azerbaijan and handles grain, coal, fertilizers, timber, containers, food and chemical cargoes.

The mayor of Novorossiisk, Andrei Kravchenko, earlier on Wednesday restricted access to the beaches. He later said all the restrictions were lifted, adding that two commercial properties and one residential apartment were "insignificantly" damaged in the attacks, while no one was injured.

The Russian defence ministry said its forces destroyed two sea drones heading in the direction of Novorossiisk.

Russia has repeatedly said that Ukraine has attacked its port cities on the Black Sea coast, but Russian officials often give few details about the extent of damage inflicted by Ukrainian attacks.

The port was also attacked by drones last May, forcing the authorities to temporarily shut the outlet.

Loadings of Urals, KEBCO and Siberian Light grades from Novorossiisk are scheduled at 1.7-1.8 million metric tons in July.

The Russian defence ministry said also its air defence systems destroyed 10 air drones Ukraine launched at Russia's territory, including one over the Moscow region.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.

Kyiv has said attacks on Russia's military, transport and energy infrastructure are in response to Moscow's continuous attacks on Ukraine's territory since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Reuters in Moscow; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge)