Basketball in Russia and Ukraine has no doubt taken a back seat. In fact, it’s not even in the conversation.
For CSKA Moscow, like all Russian clubs competing in Europe, they have been affected by their president Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine as his destructive politics have made import players rethink their decisions.
One such player is Johannes Voigtmann, one of six players to flee CSKA due to the ongoing conflict.
“Last Thursday, like everyone else, we were surprised by the terrible news about the war that Russia had started in Ukraine, he said to German outlet kicker.de.
“After a day or two of reflection, the decision was made that I didn’t want to stay in Moscow.
“In the current situation, I can’t agree to hold competitions for a Russian team, where, in the end it’s about winners and losers. Even if it’s just about basketball, it involves symbolism that I don’t think is appropriate at the moment.
The Russian president is responsible for a brutal war of aggression that is causing innocent people to die in Ukraine, millions of people having to flee their homeland, and children, in particular, losing their homes or even their lives.
I just couldn’t stay in Russia and carry on as if nothing had happened, especially since you don’t know how the situation there will change. I wouldn’t have felt safe in the overall context either.”
Despite his departure, Voigtmann is still under contract with CSKA until 2023, but the German hopes to have things resolved soon.
“It’s difficult, even if the war hopefully ends soon, not everything is suddenly going back to normal,” he said.
“My agent is therefore trying to find a good solution for my contractual situation with the CSKA managers. However, there is no precedent for the current situation, this is new territory for everyone”.