Ukrainian soldier opens fire, kills five guards at military plant

A Ukrainian National Guard soldier has shot security guards at a military factory in central Ukraine for unknown reasons, killing five people and wounding five others.

The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday in Dnipro at the Pivdenmash missile factory (Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant Yuzhmash) as weapons were being issued to the guards at the start of a shift, a police statement said.

The attacker opened fire with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and afterwards fled the scene, the interior ministry said, adding: “As a result, five people died and another five were injured.”

Police are searching for the escaped soldier.

The incident occurred at 3:40am when the shooter was being issued a weapon at the beginning of his shift, the ministry said.

“The motives for the crime are not yet known,” it said, adding that a National Guard commander, Nikolai Balan, had been dispatched to the scene.

Yuzhmash is an aerospace factory that produces and tests material related to defence, aeronautics and agriculture, according to its website.

The attack comes at a sensitive time for Ukraine’s military. The Russian military has been amassing troops near the country’s border with Ukraine, and NATO members have accused Russia of planning an invasion of the country.

Moscow, meanwhile, denies the accusation and is seeking security guarantees that NATO will halt its eastward expansion into former Soviet republics.

The US and NATO have held a series of talks with Russian officials over the past few weeks, but the negotiations so far have failed to end the crisis. Another round of negotiations is set to take place in Berlin, Germany, in two weeks.