- 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 let go
A 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player was fatally stabbed after an altercation at a bus stop in Germany, police said Monday, 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.
The ‘young basketball players were attacked with knives on the street simply because they are Ukrainians’, Kyiv Basketball Federation said.
Volodymyr Yermakov (pictured), who played at youth level for the Ukrainian national team and German side ART Giants Duesseldorf, died in hospital
Yermakov and his teammate were attacked in the centre of Oberhausen (File image)
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 on Monday called for an investigation into the incident ‘to be carried out as soon as possible and the criminal to be brought to justice’.
Yermakov’s killing was ‘incomprehensible’, his German basketball club wrote in a post on Facebook.
‘Events happen that sometimes simply cannot be understood or put into words… We mourn and say goodbye to our young player Volodymyr Yermakov, who fell victim to an act of violence on Saturday evening and passed away,’ 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 brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and moved to Duesseldorf in 2023, the team added.
‘In order to escape the war in his native country, he moved to Düsseldorf in July 2023, where he found his new home,’ the statement said.
‘Volodymyr was very popular with coaches, teammates and friends. What remains in memory is a young person whose everyday life was characterized by pure joy of life and sporting ambition.’