Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Conscript arrested after allegedly killing 5 people in unprecedented shooting spree (UPDATED)

by Alexander QueryJanuary 27, 2022 3:35 pm
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Ukrainian soldier Artem Ryabchuk was arrested after allegedly killing five people and wounding five others during a shooting spree using an AK-47 rifle from the army's inventory. (Facebook)

A conscripted National Guard member Artem Ryabchuk, 20, was arrested in the city of Dnipro on Jan. 27 after allegedly killing five people on a shooting spree earlier that day.

According to the reports, Ryabchuk used the AK-47 gun, that was just given to him, to deadly shoot four National Guard service people and a civilian woman.

The conscript also wounded five people, who were taken to the hospital to receive emergency care.

The shooting took place at the territory of Pivdenmash, a state-owned factory producing spacecraft and launch vehicles. The alleged shooter and his victims were standing guard at the facility. The murdered civilian woman was operating the factory's gate. She was killed when refusing to let the shooter out.

Authorities opened a criminal investigation against the conscript for premeditated murder, punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. 

Mass shootings remain very rare in Ukraine. The tragedy in Dnipro is the first shooting of that scale to take place among law enforcement or military personnel.

The State Investigation Bureau also opened a proceeding against the National Guard’s top officials for negligence, leading to up to seven years of imprisonment if found guilty. Mykola Balan, the National Guard's commander, resigned from his post after suspending the officer in charge of Ryabchuk's regiment.

The speaker of the National Guard, Ruslan Muzychuk, told Segodnya media outlet that Ryabchuk, as a member of the factory guard, must have had regular check-ups with psychologists, and they had never reported any issues with him.

Two months before he went on the shooting spree, the conscript was reportedly bullied by his fellow servicemen, according to Yulia Yatsyk, a lawmaker and member of the parliament's law enforcement committee. The bullying allegedly came after he informed his supervisors about a fight between other conscripts.

President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed his condolences and called for an investigation. “I expect the police to fully inform the public about all the circumstances of the crime,” Zelensky wrote.

Denys Monastyrsky, the interior minister, wrote on Facebook that a commission would be set up to clarify the circumstances that led to such actions from the conscript.

“The circumstances of Artem Ryabchuk's passing of the military medical commission will also be studied, (and) his mental state when he received a permit to carry weapons,” Monastyrsky wrote.

Ryabchuk was reportedly born in 2001 in Izmail, a city near Odesa, in southern Ukraine. He graduated from the Izmail Agricultural and Technical College and worked as a storekeeper before joining the ranks of the National Guard as a conscript.

Alexander Query
Alexander Query
Business reporter

Alexander Query is a business reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He is the former business editor at the Kyiv Post. He worked as a TV correspondent and an anchorman at UATV in Ukraine, and received a BA in modern literature from La Sorbonne, in Paris.

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