The wife of one of Ukraine‘s wealthiest businessmen has been killed in “massive” Russian shelling in the southern city of Mykolaivvo. Local officials said 74-year-old Oleksiy Vadatursky and his wife Raisa were killed in a missile attack on their home last night.
Mr Wadatursky owned Nibulon, a company involved in grain exports. He also received the “Hero of Ukraine” award. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky described Mr Vadatursky’s death as a significant loss. Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said it was probably the heaviest Russian bombing of the city ever.
A hotel, a sports complex, two schools, a service station and houses were damaged.
Mykolaiv is on the main road to Odesa, Ukraine’s largest port on the Black Sea, and has been hit repeatedly since Russia launched its offensive on 24 February.
The leader of the region, Vitaly Kim, said that Mr Wadatursky’s “contribution to the development of the agriculture and shipbuilding industry, the development of the region is invaluable”.
An adviser to President Zelensky’s office said he believed Russia deliberately targeted the businessman.
Mykhailo Podolyak said that one of the missiles had hit the businessman’s bedroom, adding that “no doubt” was directed at it. Nibulon has built several storage facilities and other infrastructure for grain export.
Ukraine and Russia are essential exporters of wheat and other grains, and the trade disruption caused by the war has driven up food prices worldwide.
The two countries signed an UN-brokered deal in Turkey last week to ease the food crisis. The deal was almost derailed the next day by a Russian attack on the port of Odesa.
Security checks have further delayed the resumption of Ukrainian exports. But on Sunday, Turkey said the first ship carrying grain was expected to leave Odessa on Monday morning.