MYKOLAIV, UKRAINE — An adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Kyiv Post that Oleksiy Vadatursky, chief executive officer of Nibulon, was an intended target during Russia’s aerial bombardment of Mykolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine.

Vadatursky and his wife, Raisa, were killed when a missile struck their home on the evening of July 31. Vadatursky was one of the richest businessmen in Ukraine, having founded Nibulon, one of the country’s largest agricultural companies, in 1991 and turning it into a major player in the global grain industry.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, told the Post the bombing of Vadatursky’s home was no accident.

“Vadatursky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a large employer,” Podolyak told the Post.  “The accurate hitting of the missile, not just in the house, but in a specific wing — the bedroom — leaves no doubts about the guidance and adjustment of the impact. Once again: Vadatursky was made a specific target.”

The attack, which caused damage throughout the city, came nine days after Russia and Ukraine signed a brokered agreement that would ease Russia’s naval blockade of Ukrainian’s Black Sea ports and allow the country’s grain to be shipped. The first shipment left the Port of Odesa on Aug. 1.

The Post noted that Vadatursky was among the top 25 wealthiest Ukrainians, according to Forbes Ukraine, with an estimated net worth of $430 million.

Nibulon, which has an annual turnover of approximately $700 million, is among the 20 largest companies in Ukraine. In recent years prior to the Russia-Ukraine war, which began Feb. 24, Nibulon was exporting nearly 1 million tonnes of grain per year.

Former People’s Deputy Ihor Mosiychuk told the Post that Vadatursky had been developing alternative ways to export Ukrainian grain to the foreign market, bypassing Odesa’s blockaded ports.

Vadatursky, who also was vice president of the Ukrainian Grain Association, was recognized as a Hero of Ukraine, the highest honor a citizen of the country can receive.

Nibulon paid tribute to its fallen leader with a statement on its website.

“As a true hero and patriot of Ukraine, Oleksiy Vadatursky stayed in his native Mykolaiv and helped the city during the war,” Nibulon said. “He always believed in Ukraine and made his effort to develop the country. He repeatedly proved that any idea that matters to society and Ukraine, if you fight for it, will be implemented.

“Oleksiy Vadatursky inspired people with his sincerity, enthusiasm, and unprecedent attitude towards his own business. His desire to live inspired thousands of colleagues, partners, businessmen, and the young generation. Nibulon’s team as well as the whole of Ukraine have faced an irreparable loss. We have lost a part of us in this sorrowful day.

“On the behalf of Nibulon’s Participant and Directorate, we inform you that Nibulon continues to work normally.”