Founder of Ukrainian grain company killed by Russian shelling as deliveries are due to resume

The multimillionaire owner of Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest agribusinesses, died in a Russian attack on the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to the region’s governor on Sunday.

Leksiy Vadaturskyi and his wife Raisa Vadaturska were killed at their home during shelling, which hit multiple targets including schools, a sports complex and private homes, Governor Vitaliy Kim said in a post on Telegram.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his condolences and called the deaths “a great loss for Mykolaiv and all of Ukraine”.

Vadaturskyi, 74, founded Nibulon in 1991 with partners from the UK and Hungary, according to the company’s website.

Over the decades, it has grown into one of the country’s largest grain storage and logistics companies, 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.

Vadaturskyi was also awarded the title of Man of the Year in Mykolayiv in 2007 as the “Hero of Ukraine”, the highest civilian honor of the nation, for his services to the agricultural sector of Ukraine.

“His contribution to the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries, the development of the region is invaluable,” Kim wrote. Forbes ranked Vadaturskyi as the 24th richest Ukrainian in 2021 with a net worth of $430 million.

Born into a peasant family in the Odessa region of Ukraine, Vadaturskyi began his career as a chemical engineer after graduating from the Odessa Technological Institute. Before founding Nibulon, he specialized in bread production and distribution in Mykolaiv.

“Oleksiy Vadaturskiy and his company were never afraid of a challenge and were guided by love for their neighborhood,” Zelenskiy said in a statement. “You were inspired yourself and inspired the others. You were an example to follow.”

Grain deliveries resumed

Meanwhile, the first ship exporting Ukrainian grain since an agreement was reached on safe transit of ships could depart as early as Monday, Turkey’s Haberturk TV reported, citing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin.

No ship has sailed more than a week after Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement aimed at releasing millions of tons of grain through three Black Sea ports.

Ukraine said on Friday it was close to resuming supplies, although the timing is tied to approval by the United Nations, which was a signatory to the July 22 deal with Turkey. The UN declined to name a day.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk on Friday, where he watched grain being loaded onto a Turkish ship.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wheat, corn and vegetable oil, and grain markets are watching closely for concrete steps to open up Ukraine’s ports.

While there has been incremental progress – Ukraine’s seaport authority had previously told companies a test boat was about to depart and a group of insurers launched a program to cover food shipments from Ukraine – traders and exporters are still awaiting information on how and when the ships leave and where.

Ship owners face a variety of challenges, including recruiting crews to operate the ships, as safety concerns remain. A Russian attack on the Odessa seaport with cruise missiles hours after the deal was signed also raised questions about its involvement.

Lebanon seizes a shipment of grain

Lebanon has seized a ship loaded with barley and wheat flour while determining whether the cargo may have been stolen from Ukraine, prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat said.

The Ukrainian embassy in Beirut said the ship was loaded in Feodosia on the Russian-occupied Crimea peninsula and the goods came from Zaporizhia, Mykolaiv and Kherson in southeastern 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 touted resuming grain shipments from occupied ports.

Grain shipments from Crimea have surged since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, suggesting Ukrainian grain is being exported, analysts said. Exports from Crimea are sanctioned by the European Union and the United States.

The cargo ship Laodicea arrived in Tripoli, north Lebanon, on July 27, according to ship-tracking data monitored by Bloomberg. It will take place while Lebanon conducts an investigation into the origin of the cargo, Oueidat told Bloomberg. Founder of Ukrainian grain company killed by Russian shelling as deliveries are due to resume

Fry Electronics Team

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