Ukraine grain firm founder killed by Russian shelling as shipments prepare to resume

The multimillionaire owner of Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s biggest agricultural companies, died on Sunday during a Russian attack on the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to the region’s governor.

Governor Vitaly Kim said in a post on Telegram that Lexi Wadaturski and his wife Raisa Wadaturska were killed during a gunfight at their home, which targeted several targets including schools, a sports complex and private residences.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his condolences, calling the deaths “a great loss for Mykolaiv and for Ukraine as a whole”.

According to the company’s website, 74-year-old Vadaturski founded Nibulon in 1991 with partners in the UK and Hungary.

Over the decades it expanded into one of the largest grain storage and logistics companies in the country, operating in at least eight of Ukraine’s 27 regions and employing around 7,000 people. Nibulon developed its own river fleet to transport grain to export terminals.

Named the country’s top civilian honor “Hero of Ukraine” in 2007, Vadatursky was also awarded the title “Man of the Year” in Mykolaiv for his contribution to Ukraine’s agricultural sector.

“His contribution to the development of agriculture and the shipbuilding industry, the development of the region, is invaluable,” Kim wrote. Forbes ranked Vadatursky the 24th richest Ukrainian in 2021, with a net worth of $430m.

Born into a farming family in the Odessa region of Ukraine, Vadatursky began his career as a chemical engineer after graduating from the Odessa Technological Institute. He specialized in bread production and distribution at MycoLive before starting Nibulon.

“Olexey Vadatursky and his company were never afraid of challenges and guided by love for their neighborhood,” Zelensky said in a statement. “He himself was inspired and inspired others. He was an example to follow.”

Grain shipments to resume

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s first ship to export grain could leave as soon as Monday after reaching an agreement for the safe transit of ships, Turkey’s Habturk TV quoted Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Told happened.

More than a week after Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement aimed at releasing millions of tons of grain through three Black Sea ports, no ships have sailed.

Ukraine said on Friday it was close to resuming shipments, although the timing was tied to a move ahead of the United Nations, a signatory to a July 22 agreement with Turkey. The United Nations declined to name a day.

President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the Black Sea port of Kornomorsk on Friday, where he saw a Turkish ship loading grain.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest wheat, corn and vegetable-oil suppliers, and crop markets are watching closely for concrete steps toward unlocking Ukraine’s ports.

While there has been incremental progress – Ukraine’s Sea Ports Authority previously told companies that a test boat would be sailing soon, and a group of insurers established a program to cover cargo of food from Ukraine – traders and exporters Still waiting for details on how and when and where the ships will go.

Ship owners face a number of challenges, including recruiting staff to operate the ships as safety concerns remain. A Russian attack on Odessa’s sea port with cruise missiles hours after the deal was signed also raised questions about its commitment.

Lebanon seizes consignment of grain

Public Prosecutor Ghassan Ouidat said Lebanon has seized a ship loaded with barley and wheat flour while determining whether the goods were stolen from Ukraine.

The Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said the vessel was loaded into Feodosia, in the Russian-occupied peninsula of Crimea, and that the items originated from Zaporizhzhya, Mykolaiv and Kherson in south-eastern Ukraine.

The embassy accused Russia of stealing more than 500,000 tons during its occupation of the three regions. While Russia denies stealing grain, it has publicly spoken of resumption of grain shipments from occupied ports.

Grain shipments from Crimea have increased since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, which analysts say is being exported to Ukrainian grain. Exports from Crimea are approved by the European Union and the US.

The cargo ship Laodicea arrived in Tripoli in northern Lebanon on July 27, according to ship-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg. It will be conducted while Lebanon investigates the origin of the cargo, Oidat told Bloomberg.