Russia fan in Germany celebrates World Cup win over Spain with AK-47
An AK-47 was confiscated in the German town of Essen as a German citizen with Russian heritage celebrated Russia's round-of-16 defeat of Spain at the 2018 World Cup, local police have confirmed to ESPN FC.
The 39-year-old is now facing charges for violation of the Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz, the War Weapons Control Act, an offence punishable with a prison term of up to five years under German law.
After Russia advanced to the quarterfinals of their home World Cup with a penalty-shootout defeat of Spain, eye witnesses in Essen had reported a white Mercedes driving on one of the main streets of Germany's ninth-largest city.
The witnesses reported an unknown man not only displaying a Russia flag but also a rifle. When police stopped the car minutes later, an officer "spotted the evidently real machine gun and under threat of their weapon asked the occupants to show their hands."
An Essen police spokesperson told ESPN FC that a German citizen with a Russian background and four other friends and family members were inside the car, including an 11-year-old child.
Police confiscated the weapon, an AK-47 that was rendered disarmed due to a missing firing pin, and searched the occupants of the car. They then allowed them to leave the scene. According to an official press release, the man claimed that he wanted to celebrate Russia's qualification for the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.