One of the wealthiest businessmen in Ukraine was slain beside his wife during “massive” Russian shelling of the city of Mykolaiv in the south. Local authorities reported that Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, and his wife Raisa perished after a missile struck their home overnight. Mr. Vadatursky was the owner of the grain exporting business Nibulon and he had been recognized as a “Hero of Ukraine.” Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, claimed that it was likely the heaviest Russian shelling of the city to date. In addition to dwellings, there was damage to a hotel, a sports complex, two schools, and a gas station.
Since Russia’s invasion began on February 24th, Mykolaiv, which is on the major route to Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port on the Black Sea, has been regularly attacked. Mr. Vadatursky’s “contribution to the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries, the development of the region” is “invaluable,” according to the region’s head Vitaliy Kim. An advisor working for the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he thought Russia had targeted the businessman on purpose. One of the missiles, according to Mykhailo Podolyak, struck the businessman’s bedroom, which “leaves no doubt” that it was guided.
Nibulon has constructed numerous grain export infrastructure projects, including storage facilities. Major exporters of wheat and other crops, Ukraine and Russia have seen their prices soar due to the war-related disruption of their exports. A deal between the two nations, mediated by the UN and agreed upon last week in Turkey, aims to ease the food situation. The next day, a Russian strike on the port at Odesa nearly put an end to the agreement. Security inspections have caused a further delay in the restart of Ukrainian exports. However, Turkey stated on Sunday that it anticipated the first ship carrying grain to depart Odesa on Monday morning. The Russian military is accused by Ukraine of taking grain from farms on the occupied ground and exporting it via Crimea, the southernmost peninsula of Ukraine that Russia invaded in 2014. Russia refutes Ukraine’s claims.