One of the richest men in Ukraine was killed in a Russian missile strike along with his wife in the early hours of Sunday, and one politician claims that it was a targeted attack.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, was a prominent tycoon in the Ukrainian grain industry, owning and operating exporting company Nibulon. He was ranked as the 24th richest person in the country and was at one point the recipient of the “Hero of Ukraine” award. He and his wife, Raisa, were killed in their home during a heavy Russian bombardment of Mykolaiv, a major city in Southern Ukraine, local officials reported on Sunday.
Oleksandr Senkevych, the mayor of Mykolaiv, said the bombardment was most likely the heaviest that the city has yet endured. Vadatursky’s home was among numerous residences hit, along with a hotel, a sports complex, two schools, and a service station.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian journalist turned politician and adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, spoke about Vadatursky’s death, insisting that he was killed in a targeted attack. As evidence, he cited the fact that a missile directly struck the bedroom he was sleeping in.
In his own statement on the situation, Zelensky called Vadatursky’s death “a great loss for all of Ukraine” and praised his work building out the country’s grain market, a vital service amid the ongoing global food and supply shortages.
“It is these people, these companies, precisely the south of Ukraine, which has guaranteed the world’s food security,” Zelensky added later, according to Reuters. “This was always so. And it will be so once again… Our people, our capabilities, are surely more powerful than any Russian missiles or shells.”
As a major global exporter of grain, Ukraine’s hindered ability to ship products amid the Russian invasion has had a considerable impact on global food prices. The two nations last signed an agreement, brokered by the United Nations, to allow certain ports on the Black Sea to reopen and begin exporting once more.
The deal was almost derailed, however, as Russian forces resumed shelling the major port city of Odesa the day after it was signed. The first shipment of grain is now expected to depart from Odesa by Monday morning. Odesa is located only 130 kilometers away from Mykolaiv.
Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.
Russia has denied claims made by Ukraine that it has been stealing grains harvested in occupied land and exporting them for itself.