Russian attack kills Ukraine’s largest grain trader and one of the country’s richest men

Russian attack kills Ukraine’s largest grain trader and one of the country’s richest men

Ukrainian Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, owner of one of the country’s largest grain trading companies, died Saturday night (30) after a Russian attack. The millionaire’s mansion in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolayiv was hit by mortar shells, killing the oligarch and his wife Raisa Mykhailivna.

Vadatursky was the founder and head of Nibulon, a Ukrainian agribusiness giant specializing in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, which also controls its own ships and shipyards. His company, one of the ten largest in the industry in the country, exported a record 5.64 million tons of agricultural products to a total of 38 nations in 2021.

In 2021, Forbes magazine estimated Vadatursky’s net worth at US$430 million (about R$2.2 billion) and placed him 24th in its ranking of the 100 richest people in Ukraine.

Mourning the death, Ukrainian military commander of the region Vitaliy Kim said that “Vadatursky’s contribution to the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries, the development of the region is invaluable”. In 2007, Vadatursky was recognized as the “Hero of Ukraine” for his contributions to the development of the country’s agriculture.

An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff said he believed Russia deliberately targeted the businessman in the attack. Mykhailo Podolyak explained that one of the rockets hit the businessman’s room.

According to Ukrainian authorities, last night’s attacks in the region also damaged a hotel, two schools, a sports complex and a gas station in the city. A total of 12 rockets were fired at the city of Mykolayiv.

Mykolayiv is on the main route to Odessa, Ukraine’s largest Black Sea port, which has been repeatedly hit by Russian attacks since the Kremlin began its invasion of the country on February 27.

Ukraine and Russia are major grain exporters, and the disruption in Ukrainian exports caused by the war has pushed up food prices around the world. Kyiv accuses Russia of stealing grain and burning down agricultural fields, destroying the country’s economic infrastructure.

Last week the two countries signed a Turkeybrokered deal aimed at allowing Ukrainian grain exports, but the deal almost fell apart after Russia attacked the port of Odessa the next day. But on Sunday Turkey said a first ship carrying Ukrainian grain will leave Odessa on Monday.

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