Officials said the suspect, an unemployed 37-year-old former forestry student identified only as "Citizen O", confessed to a rampage through the former Soviet republic in which victims were shot and their homes burnt. In a string of normally peaceful and backward rural communities, he broke into homes, wiping out men, women and children as they slept. Troops were called in to assist with the search, while street lighting and telephones, previously rare luxuries, were installed to help calm people.
The terror began on 30 December, when he killed a family of four and a passer-by thought to have seen him escaping. Inquiries were made into the security forces, amid theories that he might have been an officer run amok.
Ukraine's First Deputy Interior Minister said the suspect, "psychologically normal", had confessed to 10 other killings since 1989.