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Ukrainian soldier kills 5 fellow soldiers at military factory

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Ukrainian soldier kills 5 fellow soldiers at military factory

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KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — A National Guard soldier in Ukraine opened fire on a missile and rocket factory in the east of the country on Thursday, killing five fellow soldiers and wounding five others, police said, a new issue security at a time when a Russian incursion is feared.

A statement from the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, said the soldier turned his gun on other servicemen guarding the southern machine-building plant and then fled.

The statement said the soldier fired “for undetermined reasons”. Police and the National Guard were searching for the suspect, the ministry said. The soldier and those shot were not immediately identified.

There was no immediate indication of a link between the shooting and military tensions around Ukraine. Russia mustered tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders and demanded security guarantees from the United States and NATO.

The plant, located in Dnipro, one of the country’s largest cities, is more than 100 miles from the front line of war in eastern Ukraine, but is closely guarded. It was once a production site for intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The attack on the factory, around 4 a.m. Thursday, came hours after the United States and NATO provided written responses to Russian demands, saying certain security issues could be discussed while d others were non-negotiable.

Ukrainian and Western officials are on high alert for actions that could destabilize the Ukrainian government or warrant a Russian military incursion.

Earlier this month, the United States said Russia had sent intelligence agents and saboteurs to eastern Ukraine to stage a provocation, with the region’s industrial infrastructure seen as a target potential.

The company that now operates the plant manufactures civilian rockets for satellite launches and has cooperated with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on the design of International Space Station resupply missions. Its rocket designs include the Anteres, Cyclone and Zenit, but it has struggled to remain relevant and profitable in the international space launch industry.

The Rocket Plant, often known by its abbreviated name Yuzhmash, was at the center of US concerns over the proliferation of missile technology to rogue states like North Korea.

For Russia, the plant’s separation during the Soviet break-up from what had been an integrated space and military industry was seen as emblematic of the economic and scientific disruption caused by Ukraine’s emergence as an independent country. .

This month, the White House accused Moscow of sending saboteurs to eastern Ukraine to stage an incident that could provide Russian President Vladimir V. Putin with a pretext to order an invasion of the country. The administration did not release details of the evidence it collected, but Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the officers had been trained in urban warfare and explosives.

“Russia is preparing the ground for the possibility of fabricating a pretext for the invasion,” Ms. Psaki said, “including through sabotage activities and information operations, accusing Ukraine of prepare for an imminent attack on Russian forces in eastern Ukraine”.

Ukrainian soldier kills 5 fellow soldiers at military factory

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