Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, is killed in Mykolaiv.

MYKOLAIV – The first air raid alarm sounded over Mykolaiv at 1:01 a.m. and for the next four hours, explosions rumbled as Russian missiles rained down on this already devastating southern port city.

By dawn, a hotel, a sports complex, two schools, a service station and many homes were in ruins. Emergency crews racing between blast sites are working to establish full casualties – with one of Ukraine’s richest businessmen, Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, and his wife among the dead. network.

Mr. Vadaturskyi’s company, Nibulon, confirms that he and his wife, Raisa, die in their house.

Tributes to Mr. Vadaturskyi – who was declared a “Hero of Ukraine” more than a decade ago for his contributions to society – poured across the country as news of his death is spread. President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “a great loss for Mykolaiv and for the whole of Ukraine.”

Mr. Vadaturskyi has been successful in the agricultural industry: His company, Nibulonhas built the storage facilities and infrastructure necessary for grain exports.

He was killed just as the first grain shipments since the beginning of the war in Ukraine were being loaded onto cargo ships at Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea after a month of blockade. On Sunday, Turkey – which along with the United Nations helped broker a deal to ship the grain – said the first ship carrying the grain was expected to leave the port of Odesa on Monday morning.

It is unclear whether Mr. Vadaturskyi was directly targeted or if he, like thousands of civilians killed by Russian bombs, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Firefighters at the scene of the strike said the remains of the Vadaturskyis had been pulled from the basement of the family home, which had been reinforced with sandbags. Scene images shared with The New York Times show a large swath of the house that has gone missing in what looks like a frontal blow.

Oleksandr Senkevych, the city’s mayor, said on Telegram that the overnight strikes were perhaps the heaviest bombardment his community has suffered since the first days of the war.

Mykolaiv has been the target of repeated air strikes since the Russians failed to capture the city as they advanced towards Odesa, Ukraine’s main port.

Vitaliy Kim, head of the Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration, said Vadaturskyi’s “contribution to the development of agriculture and shipbuilding, the development of the region is invaluable.”

Born in the Odesa region on September 8, 1947, Mr. Vadaturskyi was the son of collective farmers, according to a 2016 interview with the US-Ukraine Business Council.

During the Soviet era, he specialized in the production and distribution of bread. He founded Nibulon in 1991 and, over three decades, has grown it into one of Ukraine’s most successful businesses.

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