The death of Ukraine’s top grain entrepreneur Oleksiy Vadatursky and his wife in a Russian attack has shocked and raised suspicions that the killing was deliberate and could signal a new port blockade.
Ukraine’s newly appointed attorney general, Andriy Kostin, said on Monday that investigators are investigating the hypothesis that the couple’s death was a deliberate homicide.
On July 31, Oleksii and Rysa Vadatursky died following the attack on Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called “the most brutal” since the start of the Russian invasion, in which more than 40 missiles were fired against various targets. city.
Several of these missiles hit the president’s suite, while no other residences in the area were hit, according to presidential adviser Mijailo Podoliak.
Already the head of the Mykolaiv regional council, Hanna Zamazieva, told Channel 24 television that the businessman’s death could be related to the food crisis that Russia is trying to provoke on a global scale.
Vadatursky plans to visit Turkey in the coming days, which has become key to efforts to resume exports of millions of tons of grain blocked at Ukrainian ports since the start of the conflict, the same source added.
The businessman, who owns 81 vessels, is actively involved in efforts to increase grain exports via alternative routes and his fleet is engaged in transporting grain through Danube ports.
Oleksiy Vadatursky, 74, was the owner of Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural holdings, exporting 5.64 million tons of grain to 38 countries in 2021.
According to the Ukrainian edition of Forbes, Vadatursky was considered the 24th richest person in Ukraine in 2021, with a net worth of 430 million dollars.
However, unlike many presidents in the country, he eschewed politics, emphasizing the transparency of his company and gaining a reputation as an incorruptible businessman who cooperated with renowned international organizations and institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. EBRD).
Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the businessman has stayed in Mykolaiv to continue running his company, some of which was damaged by the war, while helping to fund local territorial defense units of the Ukrainian army.
Ukraine’s former deputy attorney general, David Tskhvarelits, explained in his account on the social network Facebook that Russian forces killed Vadatursky to intimidate all businessmen who supported efforts to stop the invasion.
Another businessman, Dmitri Vasiliev, speculated that the death may have been to prevent Russian forces from accusing Nibulan of stealing grain in the occupied city of Kherson.
According to Kiev, Russia wants to export food through ports on the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
On the Russian side, Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of the Russian television RT, linked the death of Oleksiy Vadatursky to the orders of President Zelensky or his close circle.
The military offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24 has already led to nearly 17 million people fleeing their homes – more than six million internally displaced people and more than ten million to neighboring countries – according to the latest UN data. Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II (1939-1945).
According to the United Nations, about 16 million people in Ukraine are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The Russian invasion — justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the need to “denazify” and militarize Ukraine for Russia’s security — was condemned by the generality of the international community, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing economic sanctions on Russia. It affects almost all sectors from banking to energy and sports.
The UN confirmed that 5,327 civilians were killed and 7,257 wounded in the war, which entered its 160th day today, stressing that the true toll would be much higher and would only be known during access to besieged areas or intense fighting.