Stop this insane war – we will not surrender – say the Klitschko brothers Russia from Kyiv

FILE PHOTO: Opening of the first recruitment center of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces in Kyiv
FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian heavyweight boxing world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who has joined the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces, and his brother, mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko, speak to journalists during the opening of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces’ first recruitment center in central Kyiv , Ukraine February 2, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

March 3, 2022

By Gabriela Baczynska

(Reuters) – Ukrainians have nowhere to retreat and will defend their homeland from Russian invaders, Kiev mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko told Reuters from the capital on Thursday.

Flanked by his brother Wladimir, the heavyweight boxing star, Klitschko spoke on Skype as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its second week. Moscow shelled several Ukrainian cities while its main assault force stalled north of Kyiv.

“Thousands, tens of thousands are being killed in this war against Ukraine. And unfortunately, that number will continue to grow,” Klitschko said at an animal shelter where he works in Kyiv.

“We won’t give up. We have nowhere to retreat to.”

He said about half of the city’s 3 million residents have left. Authorities also evacuated many orphans to Poland and Germany, he said.

“The situation is tense, people are concerned,” he said, adding that projectiles kept “hitting apartment blocks or key infrastructure sites.”

“The city needs peace and a peaceful sky… The residents of Kyiv have been in their basements non-stop for a week now because of the air raid alarms going off all the time.”

With empty streets, some food shortages and closed pharmacies, Kyiv still fared better than the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, which was heavily shelled by Russia, or the southern port of Mariupol, which remained encircled and without electricity or water.

Klitschko said Russia is also trying to encircle Kyiv and urged Russians to challenge President Vladimir Putin.

“You are an instrument in the hands of one man with one ambition – to revitalize the Soviet Union… For the ambition of one man we pay a very high price.”


Putin said his “special military operation” was designed to protect Russians persecuted in Ukraine, a former Soviet republic now aspiring to join NATO and the European Union.

The boxing brothers, whose mother is ethnic Russian, said Ukraine has always been home to Ukrainians, Russians, Jews and other religions and ethnicities.

“It’s pointless. There is no reason to attack Ukraine,” Vladimir said, describing footage of bomb damage in the city of Kharkiv as heavy on people’s memories.

“It’s utter madness… What’s happening is terror. It’s happening in 2022. It’s something the mind doesn’t comprehend.”

The mayor’s younger brother said he spent the last week helping to transport food and medicine around the city.

“You don’t know if you’ll make it through tomorrow. Those nights when you hear explosions all night and there’s gunfire in the street, it’s kind of worrying.”

He called for the immediate severing of all international business ties with Russia and the imposition of further sanctions after Europe, the United States and other countries cut ties with Russian banks and companies in retaliation for the invasion.

“We’re really counting hours here,” said Wladimir Kitschko. “We do not have time. We must act now, we must stop this madness. All the money Russia gets is used to buy deadly weapons that kill Ukrainians.”

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by William Maclean) Stop this insane war – we will not surrender – say the Klitschko brothers Russia from Kyiv


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