- Volodymyr Yermakov and his teammate were stabbed to death in Dusseldorf
- kyiv’s basketball association said they were attacked for being Ukrainian.
- Two teenagers were arrested in connection with the attack, but one was released
A 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player was fatally stabbed following an altercation at a bus stop in Germany, police said Monday, in a case that has sparked outrage in kyiv.
Volodymyr Yermakov, who played in the youth ranks of the Ukrainian national team and German side ART Giants Duesseldorf, died in hospital following the incident in the western city of Oberhausen on Saturday night.
Yermakov and a Ukrainian teammate had a “verbal” dispute with the other two teenagers on a city center bus, local police said, adding that the background to the altercation was being investigated.
When the two groups got off the bus, the confrontation escalated and the teens got into a “physical confrontation,” police said.
“According to initial investigations, knives were produced,” police said.
The “young basketball players were attacked with knives in the street simply because they are Ukrainians,” the Kyiv Basketball Federation said.
Volodymyr Yermakov (pictured), who played in the youth ranks of the Ukrainian national team and German side ART Giants Duesseldorf, died in hospital.
Yermakov and his teammate were attacked in the center of Oberhausen (File image)
In the ensuing fight, Yermakov and his 18-year-old compatriot were injured, as well as a 14-year-old Syrian boy and a 13-year-old Lebanese-German girl.
The two Ukrainians suffered “life-threatening injuries,” police said.
The four victims were taken to hospital, where Yermakov “died shortly after during an emergency operation.”
A 15-year-old boy with dual Turkish-German nationality was arrested and charged with murder, police said.
A 14-year-old Greek-German boy was also temporarily detained for his involvement, before being released after the police’s initial suspicions could not be substantiated.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Monday called for an investigation into the incident to be carried out “as soon as possible and for the criminal to be brought to justice.”
Yermakov’s murder was “incomprehensible,” his German basketball club wrote in a Facebook post.
“Events happen that sometimes simply cannot be understood or expressed in words… We cry and say goodbye to our young player Volodymyr Yermakov, who was the victim of an act of violence on Saturday night and died,” the message said.
The team said Yermakov was “an integral part of our NBBL team in the U19 Bundesliga, was nominated for the U18 national team and even trained with our professionals from time to time.”
The young athlete had fled the war caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and moved to Düsseldorf in 2023, the team added.
“To escape the war in his native country, he moved in July 2023 to Düsseldorf, where he found his new home,” the statement reads.
‘Volodymyr was very popular with coaches, teammates and friends. What remains in memory is a young man whose daily life was characterized by the pure joy of life and sporting ambition.’