Ukrainian Soldiers Killed After National Guard Serviceman Opens Fire

A Ukrainian National Guard serviceman opened fire in a room at a machine-building factory, killing five people and injuring five others, local media have reported.

Artemiy Ryabchuk, 20, had been guarding the Pivdenmash factory in the city of Dnipro, around 240 miles southeast of the capital Kyiv, when he opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle around 3 p.m. on Thursday, said Ukraine's internal affairs ministry.

The factory is involved in the manufacture of spacecraft, launch vehicles, liquid-propellant rockets, landing gears, tools and tractors and industrial products, according to its website.

News outlet Syevodnya.ua reported that a serviceman had taken an AK-47 rifle and cartridges into a weapons room that had 22 soldiers in it. He started shooting before fleeing.

A search for the suspect, who was from the city of Izmail, was launched in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

He was detained at 9.30 p.m. local time on the street in the city of Pidhorodne after police said they had received more than a dozen calls from people who had seen the suspect.

The National Guard's first statement on the incident said five servicemen had been killed. News outlet Syevodnya.ua later reported that the five killed were four servicemen and one female civilian. It has not been established whether she was an employee of the plant.

Those wounded reportedly have injuries to their limbs.

The area around the factory has been cordoned off and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which Newsweek has contacted for comment, is undertaking an investigation.

The commander of the National Guard, Colonel-General Mykola Balan, has gone to the scene of the shooting.

A National Guard spokesman said the suspect had been with the service since last year and was "not part of a group of military personnel monitored by psychologists," Syevodnya.ua reported.

The spokesperson said there was a full vetting procedure before personnel were appointed to the National Guard, which the suspect had passed.

"They have regular conversations with a psychologist," the spokesman added.

The National Guard said: "All the circumstances of the incident are being clarified. An official investigation has been launched in the military unit."

The National Guard is the Ukrainian national gendarmerie. Its forces have been involved in the conflict in the country's eastern Donbass region against pro-Russian separatists backed by Moscow.

The shooting comes as Ukraine's military is on high alert amid fears of an invasion by Russian troops massed on the country's border.

Update 01/27/22, 4:15 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add extra information.

Google maps pic of Pivdenmash factory
Pivdenmash factory in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro is shown in this Google Maps image. A Ukrainian National Guard opened fire at the factory, killing at least five people. Google Maps