MYKOLAYIV, UKRAINE — A Ukrainian port complex near Mykolayiv that handles agricultural exports reportedly was shelled heavily by Russian forces on June 4, Nika-Tera terminal owner Group DF said.

Nika-Tera, which handles grain, fertilizer and bulk cargo shipments, is south of Mykolayiv at the mouth of the Bug-Dnieper River leading to the Black Sea. Group DF said it was working with other major Ukrainian agribusinesses to find alternative export routes, but it was unlikely that current export volumes could be shifted easily and quickly overland. The extent of the damage was not reported.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has created a global food crisis with prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring. Russia and Ukraine account for about 30% of global wheat exports, while Russia is also a fertilizer exporter and Ukraine is an exporter of corn and sunflower oil. Underdeveloped nations heavily dependent on Black Sea grain, many in Africa, are seen as particularly vulnerable to food shortages.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to broker what he calls a “package deal” to resume Ukrainian food exports and Russian food and fertilizer exports. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to visit Turkey on June 8 to discuss unlocking grain exports from Ukraine.

On June 6, Ukraine said it had exported 47.2 million tonnes of grain so far in the July to June 2021-22 marketing year, but shipments had dropped from up to 6 million tonnes a month to about 1 million tonnes per month since the invasion.