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A Ukrainian National Guard conscript soldier was arrested Thursday after he opened fire at a machinery factory in the country’s east, killing five people and wounding five others, authorities said.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the guard, identified as 21-year-old Artemiy Ryabchuk, shot at a group of his colleagues at the Dnipro city facility at around 3:40 a.m. local time while weapons were being distributed.
Four soldiers and a civilian woman were killed. The suspect reportedly fled with a gun, but was later apprehended.
Arrested and Charged
Video of Ryabchuk’s arrest showed the suspect lying face down on the ground with his hands behind his head as officers moved in to take him into custody.
The soldier, named Artemiy Ryabchuk, 21, fled with a Kalashnikov assault rifle. He was later arrested by the police.
He was then seen calmly describing how he shot people one by one. His motives were not immediately clear.
A Ukrainian lawmaker said the suspect may have been intimidated. Some reports say that he gave himself up to the police voluntarily.
National Guard chief Mykola Balan submitted his request for resignation soon after, saying a commander was ultimately responsible “for any incident, both good and bad.”
The motive for the shooting is unknown at this time.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky offered “sincere condolences” to the relatives of the victims on Thursday and ordered that “any necessary help for the loved ones of the victims of this horrible crime be provided immediately.”
Zelensky added that doctors are “fighting for the lives of the wounded” and called the shooting “terrible.”
Since then, more than 40 guards and policemen have volunteered to donate blood to injured victims, the Interior Ministry said.
“This is how the military and law enforcement decided to help comrades who suffered significant blood loss from fire injuries at a southern car plant,” the ministry said in a Facebook post.
One of the injured, a woman, is in serious condition.
Zelensky said he expected law enforcement officials to provide updates on the shooting later Thursday, adding why and how it happened should be “examined in the greatest detail.”
“Mandatory conclusions on personnel should be drawn in the near future,” the president said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky has said a commission will be formed to investigate the actions that led to the shooting.
According to the BBC, the suspect was heard describing how he killed the victims and reportedly said he shot a woman in the head after she refused to open a door for him to leave the factory.
Thursday’s shooting comes amid rising tensions in Eastern Europe as Russia seeks to block Ukraine from joining NATO. While the US and NATO have publicly rejected the demand, defending the alliance’s “open door” policy, Russia has massed up to 120,000 forces along the border with Ukraine.
Many in the West fear Moscow will invade and the United States has threatened “severe” economic sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin if he does.