17-year-old Ukrainian Basketball Player Killed in Germany: Police Detain Suspect
In Germany, a 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player, Volodymyr Yermakov, from the youth national team, was killed in an attack, while his friend, who was also injured in the attack, remains in the hospital. The attack occurred in Düsseldorf on the evening of February 10, as reported by the Basketball Federation of Ukraine and Kyiv.
"Volodymyr and his friend Artem Kozachenko played for the youth team ART Giants (U-19) from Dusseldorf. The young basketball players were attacked with knives on the street the day before their next match," the statement from the Basketball Federation of Ukraine reads.
According to German police, the attackers have already been apprehended. The suspects are two boys, aged 14 and 15, from Gelsenkirchen and Herne. One of them, a 14-year-old German with Greek roots, was released as suspicions against him were not confirmed. The other attacker, a 15-year-old German of Turkish origin, remains in custody.
According to the police, the altercation began on a bus en route to Oberhausen city centre and escalated into a physical confrontation after passengers disembarked the bus.
"Around 8:15 p.m. on February 10 at the bus stop on Willy-Brandt-Platz in Oberhausen, a violent altercation occurred between two groups of young people. During the initially verbal argument on the public bus, which turned violent after passengers disembarked, four young people sustained serious injuries, likely from knives," a joint press release from the Essen city prosecutor's office and the Essen police department stated.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also confirmed that the German police have apprehended the killer of the Ukrainian basketball player.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is closely monitoring the investigation into the murder of the Ukrainian basketball player in Germany. The Consulate General in Dusseldorf has already held talks with the head of the Essen police. Consuls emphasized the need for a prompt investigation and bringing the perpetrator to justice. According to available information, the police have already arrested the attacker. Investigative actions are ongoing. The consular institution is also monitoring the treatment of another injured Ukrainian. He is receiving necessary medical assistance at the Essen hospital. The condition of our citizen is stable, there is no threat to his life," said Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Oleg Nikolenko.
Currently, German police indicate that the circumstances of the incident are still unclear. The motive is also unknown at this time, but the police do not believe the attack was politically motivated, said a spokesperson for the Essen police.
Earlier, Yermolenko played for the youth teams "Teivaz" and "5T.E.A.M.-DYUSH-12," and represented the Ukrainian youth national team (U-16) at the 2022 European Championship in Bulgaria.