Five dead after Ukrainian soldier opens fire at factory

A Ukrainian soldier opened fire at an aerospace factory, leaving five dead and five wounded before fleeing with his weapon, Ukraine’s interior ministry said on Thursday.

The Ukrainian National Guard member “fired shots with a Kalashnikov assault rifle” before fleeing with his weapons overnight on Wednesday, police said.

“As a result, five people were killed and five others injured,” they said.

The shooting occurred at an aerospace factory in the eastern city of Dnipro. The state-owned company manufactures space rockets and launchers, but also missiles, vehicles and industrial or agricultural tools.

A suspect was later arrested and detained for the shootings but the ministry said the motives of the crime were not yet known.

Police released a photo of the suspect, who is a conscript soldier born in 2001 named Artemy Ryabchuk.

According to the National Police, the victims are four other National Guard soldiers and a civilian woman.

A recurring problem

Shootings within military units in former Soviet republics has been a recurring problem, often due to hazing. In February 2018, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed by two other members of the army in the east of the country.

The Ukrainian army has been fighting pro-Russian separatists since 2014 in the country’s east. Armed incidents have become more common in Ukraine, with weapons flowing more freely into the country from the conflict zone.

An armed man took 13 people hostage on a bus for 12 hours until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accepted a bizarre request from the kidnapper to resolve the crisis by posting a video on Facebook endorsing a documentary about animal abuse.

Ukraine is currently at the heart of a Russian-Western geopolitical crisis, with the US accusing Russia of planning to invade its neighbour while the Russians say they are threatened by NATO.