Ukraine grain tycoon killed in Russian shelling

One of Ukraine’s richest businessman has been killed with his wife in “massive” Russian shelling of the southern city of Mykolaiv.

Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, and his wife, Raisa, died when a missile hit their home overnight, Ukrainian media said.

Mr Vadatursky owned Nibulon, a group involved in grain exports. He had also received the “Hero of Ukraine” award.

Mykolaiv mayor, Oleksandr Senkevych, said it was probably the heaviest Russian bombardment of the city so far.

There was damage to a hotel, a sports complex, two schools and a service station, as well as homes.

Mykolaiv was on the main route to Odesa, Ukraine’s main port, and has been hit repeatedly.

The region’s leader, Vitaliy Kim, said Mr Vadatursky “did a lot for the Mykolaiv region, a lot for Ukraine.

“His contribution to the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industry, the development of the region is invaluable,” he said on Telegram.

Nibulon has built many storage facilities and other infrastructure for exporting grain.

Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of wheat and other grains, and the disruption of exports caused by the war has sent food prices soaring worldwide.

The two countries signed a United Nations (UN)-brokered agreement in Turkey last week, aimed at easing the food crisis.

The resumption of Ukrainian exports has been delayed by security checks. But on Sunday, Turkey said the first ship carrying grain was expected to leave Odesa on Monday morning.

Ukraine accused Russian forces of stealing grain from farms on occupied land and exporting it via Crimea. Russia denied those claims.

Meanwhile, Russia has cancelled Navy Day celebrations in occupied Crimea.

The reason given by Sevastopol Governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev, was an alleged Ukrainian drone strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters. The fleet has long been based in Sevastopol.

But a senior Ukrainian official, Serhiy Bratchuk, dismissed the Russian report as a “provocation”.

“The liberation of our Crimea will take place differently and much more efficiently,” he said.

Russian forces annexed Crimea in 2014. That was internationally condemned as illegal and triggered sanctions against Russia. -BBC

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