KEY POINTS

  • Vadatursky was in the basement when a missile struck his home
  • It is unclear whether the Russians intentionally targeted him
  • Mykolaiv has been a Russian target since the war broke out 

A Ukrainian grain mogul and his wife died in Russian shelling of the southern city of Mykolaiv Sunday, Ukrainian officials said. Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, and his wife, Raisa, died when a missile struck their home.

Vadatursky, one of the richest businessmen in Ukraine, was the owner of a grain exporting company Nibulon and had received the "Hero of Ukraine" award, reported CNN.

A statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Vadatursky's death was a "great loss for Mykolaiv ... and all of Ukraine." "For more than 50 years of his career, Oleksiy Vadaturskyy made an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries of our country," the statement added.

Vadatursky and his wife were reportedly sheltering in the basement of their home when a missile hit their mansion, reducing it into rubble. It is unclear whether he was intentionally targeted by Russian forces. However, Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian journalist-turned-politician and adviser to the President, alleged that Vadatursky was killed in a targeted attack as a missile directly struck the bedroom he was sleeping in.

A statement from Vadaturskyy's company, Nibulon, said he was a "true hero and patriot" who had stayed in Mykolaiv to help the strategically important port throughout Russia's invasion. "He always believed in Ukraine and directed his efforts to its development and prosperity," the statement said.

Mykolaiv came under intense Russian attack a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin used militaristic threats to anyone undermining Russia's "sovereignty and freedom."

According to Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevych, Sunday's shelling was probably the heaviest Russian bombardment of the city so far. A hotel, sports complex, schools and a service station suffered damage in the attack. Mykolaiv is on the main route to Odesa and has been a Russian target since the war broke out.

Meanwhile, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram that over 50 grad rockets hit residential areas in the city Sunday morning.

Russia continued to pummel the frontlines in Donetsk and Luhansk regions too. While three people were killed and eight injured in fighting in eastern Ukraine, Russian artillery, including Grad missiles and Uragan rockets, targetted villages. "Eleven private residential buildings and a high-rise building, a police station, a market, a canteen were damaged, and three fields were burned," the Donetsk military-civilian administration said.

A firefighter works to douse a fire in a building, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, in this handout picture released on July 31, 2022. State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Mykolaiv Region/Handout via REUTERS
A firefighter works to douse a fire in a building, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, in this handout picture released on July 31, 2022. State Emergency Service of Ukraine in Mykolaiv Region/Handout via REUTERS Reuters / STATE EMERGENCY SERVICE OF UKRAI
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