German authorities are currently investigating a disturbing incident involving a man, suspected to be of Russian origin, who allegedly threw a 10-year-old Ukrainian boy off a bridge simply because he was speaking his native language.
This incident appears to have a political motive, given the rising tensions surrounding Ukrainian refugees in Germany, where over a million have sought shelter following Russia’s invasion.
The man believed to be in his early 40s and conversing in Russian, approached a group of children in Einbeck, Lower Saxony. These children were conversing in Ukrainian on a bridge. He scolded them, insisting they should speak Russian and blaming Ukraine for initiating the war.
In a shocking turn of events, the man physically assaulted the children. He pulled a girl’s hair and hurled a 10-year-old boy over the five-meter-high railing of the bridge, causing the boy to collide with the bridge’s iron structure before falling into the water below.
Adding to this horrifying act, the assailant picked up a glass bottle and threw it at the boy while he was still in the water, hitting him on the right shoulder. He then fled the scene while the other children rushed to help the injured boy and informed their parents.
Fortunately, the boy sustained only minor injuries to his left foot and head and was quickly discharged from the hospital. However, this incident sheds light on the growing hostility towards Ukrainians in Germany, especially since Berlin has extended support to Kyiv, both politically and with military aid.
This hostility is not limited to one group but is observed among far-right sympathizers of Putin and Russians living in Germany. Some Ukrainian students even woke up to find symbols associated with Putin’s war scrawled on their dormitory doors in Frankfurt.
As a response to the escalating tensions, some Ukrainians in Berlin have resorted to removing Ukrainian symbols from their clothing, fearing they might become targets. It’s worth noting that Germany has a significant Russian population, with approximately 3.5 million ethnic Russians, including those of German heritage and Russian Jews.
While most are well-integrated into German society, there are concerns that some may hold pro-Kremlin sympathies, which have become more evident since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Sergej Sumlenny, the director of the European Resilience Centre, highlighted the depth of hatred within a significant segment of the Russian community in Germany.
He noted that many identify strongly with Russia and the Soviet Union, consuming Russian propaganda through television, leading to a readiness to hate, cause harm, and even kill without provocation, simply because someone speaks Ukrainian.
This incident, while extreme, sadly reflects a broader pattern of anti-Ukrainian sentiment among some Russians in Germany.