Ukraine’s grain tycoon killed in Russian missile attack

Kyiv Edited By: C KrishnasaiUpdated: Aug 01, 2022, 02:38 PM IST
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Seventy-four-year-old Oleksiy Vadatursky—founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon—and his wife Raisa were killed in their home overnight on Sunday,

The owner of one of Ukraine’s largest grain producing and exporting companies and his wife were killed after Russian strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv.

Seventy-four-year-old Oleksiy Vadatursky— founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon—and his wife Raisa were killed in their home overnight on Sunday, AFP quoted Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim as saying via Telegram.

Nibulon—which is placed in strategically important Mykolaiv city that borders the Russia-occupied Kherson region— specialises in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and has its own fleet and shipyard.

The city lies on the main route to Odesa port, which is Ukraine's biggest port on the Black Sea. It has been hit repeatedly since Russia launched its invasion on February 24.

Mykolaiv region’s leader Vitaliy Kim said Vadatursky's "contribution to the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industry, the development of the region is invaluable", reports BBC.

Their death will deal a major blow to Ukraine’s efforts in resuming wheat exports.

Describing the businessman’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”, President Volodymyr Zelensky in a statement said that Vadatursky had been in the process of building a modern grain market involving a network of transhipment terminals and elevators.

Ukraine strongly suspects that Vadatursky was deliberately targeted by the Russian forces as one of the Russian missiles hit the businessman's bedroom.

On Sunday, Zelensky said that the country may be able to harvest only half its capacity this year due to the continuous attack.

“Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” suggesting half as much as usual, Zelenskiy wrote in English on Twitter.

Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of wheat and other grains. The invasion that started on February 24 has disrupted exports, causing food prices to soar worldwide.

The two warring countries had recently signed an UN-brokered agreement in Turkey last week, aimed at easing the food crisis. The deal was almost tanked by a Russian attack on the Odesa port the following day.

The resumption of Ukrainian exports was further delayed by security checks. But on Sunday, Turkey said the first ship carrying grain left Odesa on Monday morning.

(With inputs from agencies)