Russia was accused of an ambush that killed a Ukrainian grain tycoon

The Russian raid in the city of Mykolaiv is said to have killed the husband and wife of one of Ukraine’s largest grain exporters.

The first air strike alert was activated in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv at 1:01 a.m. on July 31, and for the next four hours, explosions were heard repeatedly as Russian missiles fell, officials said. local.

By dawn, a hotel, a sports complex, two schools, a service station and many homes had been destroyed. One of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, Oleksiy Vadatursky, and his wife were among those killed in what President Volodymyr Zelensky called “one of the most intense ambushes” since the beginning of the conflict. .

Nibulon, Vadatursky’s company, confirmed he and his wife, Raisa, died at their home.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, owner of Nibulon, Ukraine's largest grain producer and exporter.  Photo: Nibulon.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, owner of Nibulon, Ukraine’s largest grain producer and exporter. Image: Nibulon.

Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a strategically important city bordering the Kherson region, where most of the territory is now controlled by Russia, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and has a fleet of shipping vessels. and its own shipyard. Mr. Vadatursky has a fortune of up to $ 450 million, according to Forbes’ 2020 estimates.

President Volodymyr Zelensky described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for the entire country of Ukraine”.

Russia has not commented on this information.

Mr. Vadatursky was killed just as the first grain shipments were being loaded onto ships at Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea after months of blockade since fighting broke out. Turkey, which, along with the United Nations, helped broker a deal to help free up Ukraine’s grain stockpile, said the first grain-carrying ship is expected to leave the port of Odessa today.

Firefighters at the scene said the Vadaturskys’ bodies were found in the basement of their house, which had been reinforced with sandbags.

Oleksandr Senkevych, the city’s mayor, described the July 31 raids as perhaps the heaviest bombardment that Mykolaiv has suffered since the first days of the conflict.

Mykolaiv has been the target of repeated attacks since Russia’s failed attempt to take control of the city as it advanced towards Odessa, Ukraine’s main port.

Vu Hoang (Theo New York Times)

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