A Ukrainian grain mogul and his wife were killed after the southern city of Mykolaiv came under intense shelling on Sunday, according to Ukrainian officials, as Russian President Vladimir Putin used his nation’s Navy Day to issue more militaristic threats to anyone undermining Russia’s “sovereignty and freedom.”
Grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadaturskyy and his wife, Raisa, died in the attack, according to a statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Vadaturskyy was the founder of Mykolaiv-based Nibulon, one of Ukraine’s largest grain producing and export companies.
“This is a great loss for Mykolaiv region and all of Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “For more than 50 years of his career, Oleksiy Vadaturskyy made an invaluable contribution to the development of the region and the development of the agricultural and shipbuilding industries of our country.”
Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Senkevych said cluster munitions blew out windows and destroyed balconies. “Mykolaiv was under mass shelling today. Probably the strongest one of all time,” he said in a statement.
A CNN team on the ground heard the explosions caused by the strikes and saw fires that broke out in the shelling. Residents interviewed by CNN also said it was the heaviest shelling in the city since the start of the war.
At least one person was killed and two injured in the attack, according to Vitalii Kim, head of Mykolaiv regional military administration.
“Lightning speed”: In a speech commemorating Russia’s Navy Day in St. Petersburg, Putin did not make any mention of Russia’s war in Ukraine, but said his country’s “current situation is demanding very decisive actions.”
“We will provide protection firmly and 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 encroach on our sovereignty and freedom,” Putin said.
Putin said delivery of the country’s Zircon hypersonic cruise missile systems would begin in the coming months. Russia said in May that it successfully tested the Zircon missile over a distance of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles).