German authorities investigate possible political motive in stabbings of two Ukrainians by Russian man

The public prosecutor general’s office in Munich took over the investigation into the stabbing deaths of two Ukrainian men on Monday because of a possible political motivation for the crime, according to German news agency dpa. The two Ukrainians, aged 23 and 36, lived in the southern German county of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and were killed at a shopping center in the village of Murnau in Upper Bavaria. Shortly after the slayings on Saturday evening, police arrested a 57-year-old Russian on suspicion of murder, dpa reported. The public prosecutor general’s office usually takes over investigations from regular prosecutors if there is a possibility that a crime was politically motivated. The Bavarian Central Office for Combating Extremism and Terrorism is also involved in the investigation of the killings, dpa reported. The Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement Sunday that it appeared the two men were military servicemen undergoing medical rehabilitation in Germany. The names of the victims and the suspect weren’t released in line with German privacy rules. The motive for the killings isn’t yet known, authorities said. According to an initial investigation, the three men knew each other, but further details need to be verified, local police spokesperson Stefan Sonntag told dpa. There were also indications that all three men had consumed alcohol. “We have clear evidence that the suspect was under the influence of alcohol,” Sonntag was quoted as saying. A spokesperson for on Monday expressed concern about the killings. “This is a worrying incident, no question about it. The circumstances must now be investigated more closely,” Steffen Hebestreit told reporters in Berlin. “We can only speculate about the motives at the moment,” he added. “But it is clear that we cannot tolerate such a thing on German soil anyway and that the Ukrainians, Ukrainians who have fled to us from the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, must now be safe.” More than 1 million have come to Germany since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Germany is also home to a significant Russian immigrant community and 2.5 million Russians of German ancestry who mostly moved to the country after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.