Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

Johannes Voigtmann sat down with kicker.de to talk about the decision to depart from Russia, the ride home, and possible next steps.

Johannes Voigtmann

Johannes  Voigtmann
Johannes  Voigtmann
MIN: 21.26
PTS: 8.45 (55.32%)
REB: 4
As: 2.05
ST: 0.65
BL: 0.45
TO: 1.2
GM: 20

According to the German national team member, as the news broke out about the war in Ukraine, he immediately thought that there was no chance to stay in Moscow.

"Last Thursday, like everyone else, we were surprised by the terrible news about the war started by Russia in Ukraine. After a day or two to think it over, the decision was made that I didn't want to stay in Moscow.

In the current situation, I can't reconcile myself playing for a Russian team. Even if it's just about basketball, it involves symbolism that I think is inappropriate at the moment," Voigtmann said.

"The Russian president is responsible for a brutal war, because of which innocent people are dying in Ukraine. Millions of people have to flee their homes, and children, in particular, are losing their homes or even their lives.

I just couldn't stay in Russia and carry on as if nothing had happened, especially since we don't know how the situation there will change. In the overall context, I wouldn't have felt safe there either," added the big man.

When the war started, Voigtmann was in Munich with CSKA, where the EuroLeague game against local Bayern was scheduled for Thursday evening. However, the match was canceled, while Voigtmann had to fly back to Moscow to take care of his dog and fully furnished apartment.

After that, he faced serious problems, while the airspace for Russian airlines was already closed. Therefore, the German athlete needed to use a car in order to leave the country.

"I wanted to take as many important things as possible and also had the dog with me. The only option left was the car. I packed it full and after a final team meeting on Sunday, drove towards the Latvian border with the dog in the passenger seat.

Johannes Voigtmann

Johannes  Voigtmann
Team: CSKA Moscow
Position: PF
Age: 29
Height: 211 cm
Weight: 114 kg
Birth place: Germany

Before the Russian border, my pulse was getting a bit high because I didn't know what would be waiting for me there. Except for the fact that I had to clear out the whole car and the border guards looked into every suitcase, it went relatively smoothly.

After a break, I drove on to Lithuania, where I made a short stop in Kaunas, at the home of my former teammate Janis Strelnieks. Then I went through Poland, and in the end, it was about 2,500 kilometers journey," Voigtmann shared the trip impressions.

Asked about his next stop, the 29-year-old expressed his desire to play as soon as possible.

"First of all, contractual matters have to be clarified. I'm still under contract with CSKA until summer 2023. Of course, I'd like to play again as soon as possible, also because of the EuroBasket at home. By then, I want to be in top shape. Hopefully, there will be a good opportunity to get in soon, even if the transfer deadline has already passed in some leagues."

Johannes Voigtmann said it is "difficult" to imagine himself with the CSKA jersey again.

"Even if the war hopefully ends soon, everything is not suddenly as before. Therefore, my agent is trying to find a good solution for my contract situation with the CSKA representatives. However, there is no precedent for the current situation, which is new territory for everyone," Voigtmann spoke.

Last but not least, the German national team member touched on the topic of the EuroLeague teams, ALBA Berlin and FC Bayern Munich. According to him, they are the possible options.

"In principle, yes, but I prefer a long-term EuroLeague commitment beyond this season. And to do that, I first have to clarify my current contract situation with CSKA," finished Voigtmann.

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2-pointers this season

52%
19,0
Points made: 19,0
Accuracy: 51,8%
Place in standings: 13
Record max: 25
Record min: 12
Most made 2FGs: Tornike Shengelia