Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight boxing champion, has said he will take up arms to fight in a “bloody war” against Russia.
His brother Wladimir – another former heavyweight boxing champion – has recently enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army.
Here is everything you need to know about Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
Who is Vitali Klitschko?
Vitali Klitschko is the current mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capitaly city which is currently facing Russian attack.
He’s also a former heavyweight boxing champion – nicknamed ‘Dr Ironfist’ – who held a number of international records.
Klitschko was elected as mayor of Kyiv in 2014. He first became involved in politics in 2005 (running for, and coming second in, the Kyiv mayoral election), and maintained his boxing career alongside his political career – when he fought his last heavyweight fight in 2012, he was already an MP and leader of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform party.
Who is Wladimir Klitschko?
Wladimir Klitschko is Vitali’s younger brother. He’s also a former heavyweight boxing champion, having won multiple world championships.
The period from 2006 to 2015, when the two brothers dominated the heavyweight boxing scene, is often referred to as the Klitschko era.
Wladimir retired from boxing in 2017, but did not follow his brother into politics.
What have they said about the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Explaining his decision to fight, Vitalia Klitschko told ITV’s Good Morning Britain “I don’t have another choice, I have to do that. I’ll be fighting.”
“I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” he continued.
Wladimir explained his decision to enlist with the army in a recent social media post.
“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 wrote on Thursday.
“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.”
In a video shared by The Guardian, the brothers gave a joint address, calling for people to “observe this tragedy that is happening nowadays in Ukraine.”
“This senseless war is not going to have any winners, but losers,” he continued. “We must stay united against this aggression, Russian aggression. Don’t let it continue happening in Ukraine, don’t let it happen in Europe and eventually in the world. United we are strong. Support Ukraine.”
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