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Ukraine Detains National Guard After Shooting Leaves 5 Dead, 5 Critical

AFP

Last Updated: January 27, 2022, 15:00 IST

The shooting took place in the city of Dnipro when a gunman opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and immediately fled the scene. (Representational image/News18)

The shooting took place in the city of Dnipro when a gunman opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and immediately fled the scene. (Representational image/News18)

The shooting comes at time of heightened alert in Ukraine over the conflict with separatists in the east of the country. 

Ukraine said Thursday it had detained a member of the national guard suspected of opening fire at a factory in the centre of the country and killing five people.

The shooting took place in the city of Dnipro when a gunman opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and immediately fled the scene, the interior ministry said. Four members of the national guard and a civilian woman were left dead.

The shooting comes at time of heightened alert in Ukraine over the conflict with separatists in the east of the country. 

The suspect “has been detained by police”, Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said on Facebook, after the serviceman was reported to have fled the scene in possession of a weapon.

Monastyrsky added that five people were injured in shooting early Thursday and that “doctors are fighting to save their lives.”

“Following my order, a commission will be set up to study the circumstances that led to these actions being taken by a 21-year-old soldier, who had been called to defend his country and be responsible for security — and not to shoot his colleagues,” said Monastyrsky.

The incident occurred at around 3:40 am local time (0140 GMT), at the beginning of the suspect’s shift, when he was being issued a weapon.

Police said he had been detained in the town of Pidgorodne outside Dnipro, a city with an estimated population of around one million people.

The Yuzhmash facility is an aerospace factory that produces and tests materials related to defence, aeronautics and agriculture.

The ministry published images of the shooter with a shaved head and in military uniform, identifying him as Artemy Ryabchuk, born in 2001 in the southern region of Odessa.

It said earlier it was studying the motives for the shooting and announced that the commander of the national guard, Mykola Balan, had been dispatched to the scene.

Monastyrsky said there would be an investigation into how Ryabchuk has passed military medical examinations and had been sanctioned to carry a weapon.

Proliferation of weapons

Shootings and bullying rituals plagued militaries of former Soviet countries in the 1990s, particularly in Russia.

It is a trend which rights groups say has improved but still results in suicides or murders in the ex-USSR.

In Ukraine there have been incidents of violence perpetrated by veterans of the country’s ongoing conflict with separatists that erupted in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula.

In August last year, a veteran threatened to detonate a hand grenade inside the government headquarters and was detained.

Police said that the man had been injured twice and suffered concussion during the fighting, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives.

In 2018, four Ukrainian marines were killed in an apparent hazing incident while stationed in the country’s war-torn east, with two fellow soldiers detained.

The conflict has also led to a proliferation of weapons also among the civilian population.

In 2020, Ukrainian police freed 13 hostages and arrested an armed man who held them on a bus for more than 12 hours, threatening to detonate an explosive device.

Russia is accused of massing troops on Ukraine’s borders in preparation for what its allies say is a possible invasion.

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first published:January 27, 2022, 15:00 IST
last updated:January 27, 2022, 15:00 IST