By Natalia Zinets
KYIV, July 31 (Reuters) – Heavy Russian strikes hit the southern Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv overnight and early on Sunday, killing the owner of one of the country’s largest grain producing and exporting companies, the local governor said.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, founder and owner of agriculture company Nibulon and his wife, were killed in their home, Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim said on Telegram.
Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a strategically important city that borders the Russia-occupied Kherson region, Nibulon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, and it has its own fleet and shipyard.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described Vadatursky’s death as “a great loss for all of Ukraine”, saying in a statement the businessman had been in the process of building a modern grain market involving a network of transhipment terminals and elevators.
Three people were also wounded in the attacks on Mikolaiv, the city’s Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych told Ukrainian television, adding 12 missiles had hit homes and educational facilities. He earlier described the strikes as “probably the most powerful” on the city of the entire five-month-old war.
Up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas in another southern city, Nikopol, on Sunday morning, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentyn Reznichenko wrote on Telegram. One person was wounded.
Ukrainian forces struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Russian-held Sevastopol early on Sunday, the Crimean port city governor, Mikhail Razvozhayev told Russian media. Five members of staff were wounded in the attack when what was presumed to be a drone flew into the courtyard at the headquarters, he said.
Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.
The Sevastopol attack coincided with Russia’s Navy Day, which President Vladimir Putin marked by announcing that the Russian navy would receive what he called “formidable” hypersonic Zircon cruise missiles in coming months. Those missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound.
He did not mention Ukraine directly.
Putin sent tens of thousands of troops over the border on Feb. 24, setting off a conflict that has killed thousands, uprooted millions and caused a deep strain in relations between Russia and the West.
The biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two has also stoked an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Both Ukraine and Russia are leading suppliers of grain.
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.
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