Ukrainian grain tycoon killed in bombing as Putin threatens ‘lightning speed’ response to intervention
Grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadatorsky and his wife Raisa were killed in the attack, according to a statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vadaturskyy was the founder of Mykolaiv-based Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest grain production and export companies.
Zelensky said the businessman’s death was “a great loss for Mykolaiv…and for all of Ukraine.” “For more than 50 years of his career, Oleksiy Vadaturskyy has made an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and to the development of our country’s agro-industries and shipbuilding.”
Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevich said the cluster munitions blew out windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolaiv came under heavy bombardment today. Possibly the most powerful bombardment of all time,” he said in a statement.
The CNN crew on the ground heard explosions from the raids and saw fires that broke out during the bombings. Residents interviewed by CNN said it was the heaviest bombing of the city since the start of the war.
In a speech on Russian Navy Day in St. Petersburg, Putin did not mention the Russian war in Ukraine, but said “the current situation in his country requires very decisive action.”
“We will resolutely ensure protection by all means. The key here lies in the capabilities of the navy, which is able to respond with lightning speed to anyone who decides to infringe on our sovereignty and freedom,” Putin said.
Vadaturskyy and his wife were sheltering in the basement of the house when they were killed in a direct hit that reduced parts of their mansion to rubble. It is not known whether the Russians deliberately targeted him.
A statement from Vdatorsky’s company, Nipolon, said he was a “true patriotic hero” who resided in Mykolaiv to help the strategically important port during the Russian invasion.
“He always believed in Ukraine and directed his efforts towards its development and prosperity,” the statement said.
Neighbors expressed shock and anger at the attack.
“We don’t know what to do. We hate Russia,” said Maxim, who has lived in the region for nearly 20 years. “It’s amazing that in an instant we can destroy everything.”
War crimes charges
Separately, at least three people have been killed and eight injured in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the Donetsk Military and Civil Administration, which said villages in the area were targeted by artillery, Russian Grad rockets and Uragan missiles.
The administration said “11 private residential buildings, a high-rise building, a police station, a market and a canteen were destroyed and three fields were set on fire.”
The Ukrainian General Staff said Russian forces were attacking the front lines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“Everything is organized. Full support and full assistance – logistics and payments,” he said in his evening speech. “We only need a decision from the people themselves, who haven’t made it for themselves yet.”
UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons said the strike was part of a series of “worst kinds of human rights abuses” on Twitter on Saturday. “Olinevka must be investigated,” the ambassador wrote on Twitter. “This appears to be part of an increasingly disturbing pattern of the worst kinds of human rights abuses and possible war crimes committed with impunity in occupied eastern Ukraine.”
Zelensky said the attack was a “deliberate war crime by the Russians”.
Ukrainian intelligence said the strikes were carried out by the Russian mercenary group Wagner and were not coordinated with the Russian Defense Ministry. CNN cannot independently verify the accusations made by Ukrainian military intelligence.
Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack.
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