BERLIN, Feb 12 — A 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player was fatally stabbed after an altercation at a bus stop in Germany, police said today, in a case that has sparked outrage in Kyiv.
Volodymyr Yermakov, who played at youth level for 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 two other teenagers on a city centre bus, local police said, adding that investigations into the background of the altercation were ongoing.
As the two groups got off the bus, the clash escalated and the teenagers got into a “physical confrontation”, police said.
“According to initial investigations, knives were drawn,” police said.
Yermakov and his 18-year-old compatriot were injured in the ensuing fight, as well as a 14-year-old Syrian boy and a 13-year-old Lebanese-German girl.
The two Ukrainians sustained “life-threatening injuries”, police said.
All four victims were taken to hospital, where Yermakov “died shortly thereafter during an emergency operation”.
A 15-year-old Turkish-German dual national was arrested and charged with manslaughter, police said.
A 14-year-old Greek-German boy had also temporarily been taken into custody for his involvement, before being released after the police’s initial suspicions could not be substantiated.
The Ukrainian ministry of foreign affairs today called for an investigation into the incident “to be carried out as soon as possible and the criminal to be brought to justice”.
The “young basketball players were attacked with knives on the street simply because they are Ukrainians”, Kyiv Basketball Federation said.
Yermakov’s killing was “incomprehensible”, his German basketball club wrote in a post on Facebook.
The young athlete had fled the war brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and moved to Duesseldorf in 2023, the team said. — AFP