Grain magnate 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 Nibulon based in Mykolaiv, one of the largest grain production and export companies in Ukraine.
Zelensky said the businessman’s death was “a great loss for Mykolaiv … and for the whole of Ukraine.” “For more than 50 years of his career, Oleksiy Vadaturskyy has made an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and the development of the agro-industries and shipbuilding of our country.”
The mayor of Mykolaiv, Oleksandr Senkevich, said the cluster munitions blew out windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolaiv was subjected to a mass bombardment today. Perhaps the most powerful bombardment ever,” he said in a statement.
The CNN team on the ground heard the explosions of the raids and saw fires that broke out during the bombing. Residents interviewed by CNN said this was the heaviest bombing of the city since the start of the war.
In a speech on the occasion of the Day of the Russian Navy in Saint Petersburg, Putin did not mention the Russian war in Ukraine, but said that “the current situation of his country requires very decisive measures.”
“We will provide protection resolutely by all means. The key here is 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 remains unclear whether the Russians deliberately targeted him.
A statement from Vdatorsky’s company, Nipolon, said he was a “true and patriotic hero” who resided in Mykolaiv to assist the strategically important port during the Russian invasion.
“He has 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 area for nearly 20 years. “It is unbelievable that in one moment you can destroy everything.”
Accusations of war crimes
Separately, at least three people were killed and eight wounded in the fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the Donetsk Military and Civil Administration, which said the region’s villages were targeted by artillery, Russian Grad rockets and Uragan missiles.
The administration said that “11 private residential buildings, a high-rise building, a police station, a market and a canteen were destroyed, and three fields were burnt.”
Ukraine’s General Staff said Russian forces were attacking the front lines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
“Everything is being organized. Full support and full assistance – logistical and payments,” he said in his nightly speech. “We only need a decision from the people themselves, who have not yet made it for themselves.”
The UK ambassador to Ukraine, Melinda Simmons, said the strike was part of a pattern of “the worst kind of human rights violations” on Twitter on Saturday. “Olinevka needs to be investigated,” the ambassador wrote on Twitter. “It appears to be part of an increasingly worrying pattern of the worst kinds of human rights violations and possible war crimes being 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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