From the boxing ring to political office, and now, it would seem, to the military front line, Vitali Klitchsko, alongside his brother, Vladimir, is prepared to take up arms and face down the Russian threat in defense of his homeland.
Vitali Klitschko has been the mayor of Kiev since 2014, and has shown little desire to flee his nation following Vladimir Putin’s pre-dawn invasion on Thursday.
“I don’t have another choice, I have to do that. I’ll be fighting,” the 50-year-old former boxing heavyweight world champion told U.K. broadcaster ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
“I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” he told British viewers, adding that the Ukrainian capital is currently under heavy threat from Russian troops and revealing that he must continue to collaborate with police and military forces to ensure the continuous supply of electricity, gas and water for the city of 3 million people.
The politician’s younger brother, Vladimir, who enlisted as a reservist in the Ukrainian army in early February, has also vowed to defend his homeland.
In an emotive post published on the social media network LinkedIn on Thursday, Vladimir Klitschko confirmed he was still in Kiev, and lamented what he described as “Putin’s war,” revealing that “destruction and death” had come to Ukraine and that “blood will mix with tears.”
“The Ukrainian people are strong, and it will remain true to itself in this terrible ordeal,” the post read. “A people longing for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people their brothers.”
“It knows that they basically do not want this war. The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy.
“But: Democracy is a fragile regime. Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy without democrats.”
The younger of the two fighters called on those outraged around the world to make their voices heard, and to mobilize and organize “huge demonstrations.”
“Say it loud and clear that international law and democracy are under attack, that war is the greatest evil and that life is sacred. After all, whose turn will it be after Ukraine?” he asked.