Heavyweight boxers the Klitschko brothers vowed to fight for Ukraine on Friday after the Russian invasion reached the capital of their country.
Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir Klitschko, who had offered their services to their country at a volunteers recruitment center in Kyiv, stated that they would give all they could to fight the “bloody war” that is now gripping their country.
Russia launched an air, sea and land invasion on Thursday following a full declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin. On Monday, Russia had formally recognized the “independence” of two breakaway oblasts which comprise the Donbass region of Ukraine.
Klitscho brothers offer themselves to nation
As of Friday, an estimated 100,000 Ukrainians have fled their country as explosions and gunfire was seen and heard in the major cities of the country. Dozens of Ukrainians have been reported killed.
Former World Heavyweight champion boxer Vitali Klitschko has been the mayor of Kyiv since 2014.
“I don’t have another choice, I have to do that. I’ll be fighting,” the 50-year-old, known as “Dr. Ironfist” during his fighting days, told interviewers from the UK television show “Good Morning Britain” on Friday.
Mayor Klitschko said Kyiv was under threat and the main priority was to work with police and military forces to support the critical infrastructure of the city, which provides electricity, gas and water to its citizens.
A Reuters report stated that Klitschko said civilians were ready to defend Kyiv as citizen soldiers.
Related: Ukrainian “Tank Man” stands in front of Russian convoy
“Democracy cannot defend itself”
“I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” he declared proudly.
Earlier this month, his brother, former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army, saying that the love for his country compelled him to defend it.
“The Ukrainian people are strong. And it will remain true to itself in this terrible ordeal. A people longing for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people their brothers,” he posted in a message on LinkedIn on Thursday.
“It knows that they basically do not want this war. The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy. But Democracy is a fragile regime,” he cautioned, adding “Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy without democrats.”
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