KRAMATORSK, Ukraine – A National Guard soldier in Ukraine opened fire on Thursday at a rocket and missile factory in the east of the country, killing five people, police said.
While details of the shooting are rare and there is no immediate indication that it is linked to a military buildup in the region, it highlights the current danger of concerns about a growing Russian attack on Ukraine.
The gunman fled the scene, leading to a sprawling manhunt that lasted several hours before a suspect was apprehended, police said. Police identified the man as Artemiy Ryabchuk and said he was born in 2001, but revealed some other details about him.
Even as the investigation continued, the episode was brought into the spotlight of a broader geopolitical struggle between the West and Russia, in which the Kremlin was trying to reduce its presence. the West in an area they consider to be within their sphere of influence. US officials have warned that Russia could use disinformation, paramilitary attacks and sabotage.
The United States said this month that Russia had sent intelligence agents and saboteurs to eastern Ukraine to carry out a provocation, with the region’s industrial infrastructure considered a potential target. .
The site of the early Thursday morning shooting – commonly known as Yuzhmash, an aerospace and rocket factory that US officials has long been considered a proliferation threat — exactly the kind of strategic location that Western officials are keeping a close eye on.
They worry that Russia might point to any signs of instability inside Ukraine as a pretext for military intervention. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said this month that the United States believes Russia is likely seeking to orchestrate events it can cite as a pretext for aggression, “including through vandalism.”
The shooting took place in Dnipro, one of the country’s largest cities and more than 100 kilometers from the front line in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops have been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014.
Since the plant was once a production site for intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is closely guarded even against the latest tensions.
Police said that just before 4 a.m., when soldiers were collecting weapons in the security house, the gunman opened fire. Authorities said there were 22 people in the room at the time.
Four of those killed were teammates. Police said an employee of the factory was also killed. Five others were injured.
ONE statement from Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, which oversees police, said that the soldier turned his weapon on colleagues who were guarding the factory, and then fled.
The statement said the soldier opened fire “for unknown reasons.”
Later, Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Denys Moosystemrsky, wrote in a Facebook post that police were examining the suspect’s medical records from the time of his enlistment, suggesting the investigation would include the possibility of psychological disorder.
The attack happened just a few hours later The United States and NATO have provided written responses to Russia’s requests on the presence of Western nations in the countries of the former Soviet Union, said that some security issues can be discussed while others are non-negotiable.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/world/europe/ukraine-shooting-soldier.html Ukrainian police arrest suspect in shooting at military factory