Murder of 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player in Germany: one suspect was released, and his friend is in hospital with stab wounds
On the evening of February 10, 17-year-old Ukrainian basketball player Volodymyr Yermakov was killed in Oberhausen, Germany, and his teammate, 18-year-old Artem Kozachenko, was seriously stabbed. Local police quickly detained two suspects, aged 14 and 15, using surveillance footage, but one of them had to be released.
According to BILD, at around 8 p.m. on February 10, the Ukrainian athletes were traveling by bus from the CentrO shopping center in Oberhausen to the main train station to take a train to their home in Dusseldorf, where they had taken refuge since the outbreak of full-scale war with Russia.
It is known that a dispute, probably on ethnic grounds, occurred on the bus between our basketball players and local teenagers.
"When the parties to the conflict got off the bus at the Willy-Brandt-Platz station, the argument escalated into a fight. According to a preliminary version, a knife was also used," the police said. According to German resources, the 15-year-old criminal who provoked Volodymyr and Artem inflicted a total of nine stab wounds to the Ukrainians in the chest and stomach.
Witnesses to the tragedy called the police and paramedics, who managed to take Yermakov to a local clinic, but Vladimir died during an emergency operation. Volodymyr's teammate Artem Kozachenko survived. According to our information, he underwent surgery, and his condition is assessed as stable.
The criminals managed to leave the station unnoticed. However, the police were able to quickly identify the attacker thanks to the video from the crime scene. It turned out that at the age of 15, he was a serious offender.
According to BILD, the main suspect is a 15-year-old schoolboy of Turkish origin from Gelsenkirchen who has committed several assaults and robberies. The second suspect, who was initially arrested by German police, is a 14-year-old German of Greek descent from Herne, who is also known to law enforcement officials. However, he was later released due to insufficient evidence.
Two other young people were also seriously injured in the conflict at the train station - a 14-year-old Syrian boy from Gelsenkirchen and a 13-year-old German girl of Lebanese descent.
The Essen Public Prosecutor's Office requested the arrest of a 15-year-old teenager from Gelsenkirchen for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, as announced by the judge in charge.
The Ukrainians were attacked on the eve of their club's next match. The boys played for the ART Giants (U-19) youth team from Dusseldorf. Yermakov used to play basketball and played in the Teivaz and 5T.EAM-DUSSH-12 children's teams (born in 2006). As a member of the Ukrainian U-16 national team, he played at the 2022 European Championships in Bulgaria.
It should be noted that Volodymyr Yermakov moved to Düsseldorf only in July 2023, fleeing the war in Ukraine. And, according to the Giants, he has found a new home in Germany: "Volodymyr was very popular among coaches, teammates and friends. We will remember a young man with sporting ambitions who knew how to enjoy life."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko confirmed on his Facebook page that police are investigating. According to him, the Consulate General of Ukraine in Düsseldorf, Germany, where the crime took place, has already held talks with the head of the Essen police.