A member of Ukraine‘s National Guard on Thursday opened fire on his fellow soldiers, killing five people and wounding five more, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. The serviceman was detained by police but his motives remain unclear.
The incident occurred in the city of Dnipro, 500 kilometers southeast of Kyiv on Thursday morning. The soldier, identified by the authorities as Artemiy Ryabchuk, 20, was on guard duty at a military factory and opened fire on his colleagues, fleeing the scene immediately after.
Four soldiers and one civilian died, and five more people sustained injuries. Police detained Ryabchuk shortly after the shooting. It wasn’t immediately clear what prompted him to open fire.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded the authorities thoroughly investigate and analyze the incident.
“I expect law enforcement to fully inform the public about all the circumstances of the crime. Motives of the killer, how (the shooting) became possible – everything should be analyzed as thoroughly as possible,” Zelenskyy said in an online statement.
The shooting took place against the backdrop of soaring tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow has massed an estimated 100,000 troops near its borders with Ukraine, stoking fears that such a buildup might indicate plans to invade its ex-Soviet neighbor.
The Kremlin denied harboring such plans, but demanded security guarantees from the West, including a clause precluding NATO from accepting Ukraine and other former Soviet states as members – a demand the U.S. and NATO have rejected as a nonstarter.
Ukraine’s officials have acknowledged the threat of an invasion, but insisted it was not imminent and accused Russia of fomenting tensions and fear among Ukrainians in order to destabilize the country from within.