As the battle for the Ukrainian capital Kyiv rages on, two famous boxers and brothers, Vitali (right) and Wladimir Klitschko, are challenging Vladimir Putin, vowing to defend the city whatever it takes.
Vitali Klitschko held the WBO title from 1999 to 2000 and the WBC title twice between 2004 and 2013. He and his younger sibling Wladimir, also a former heavyweight champion, entered the Guinness World Records as the pair of brothers with most world heavyweight title fight wins. Vitali Klitschko started to be interested in politics in 2005 and was elected mayor of Kyiv in 2014.
Russian forces announced on Friday they had almost completely surrounded Kyiv and called upon the Ukrainian regime to lay down their arms.
For the time being, Ukrainian forces are taking up positions trying to stop the advance of Russian troops.
‘We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let’s not remain frozen. Putin shoots at Ukrainian cities, but he aims at our hearts and, more importantly, at our minds. He wants to create doubt and confusion and thus inaction’, Wladimir Klitschko said in a mobilizing video in which he appears alongside his older brother.
For his part, Vitali Klitschko said ‘I just want to tell you we must stay united against this aggression, against Russian aggression.’ He admitted, though, the war in Ukraine ‘is not going to have any winners, but losers’.
The Ukrainian Defense ministry issued a statement that age restrictions for enrollment have been scrapped, a move that seems to encourage even minors to take up arms. This decision is seen as controversial by many international observers as there’s very little 16 or 17-years-old can do to stop the Russian armored vehicles that have already been spotted in various Kyiv districts.
Ukrainian authorities declared martial law on Thursday morning, soon after the Russian forces started the invasion. President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree ordering a general mobilization. All Ukrainians who can carry arms have been urged to defend their homeland. Men between the ages of 18 and 60 are banned from leaving the country for the duration of martial law. Tens of thousands of refugees have already fled to neighboring Romania and Poland, on foot or by car.
It is unclear how long the Ukrainian regime is going to resist. President Zelensky admitted his country has been left to fight the Russian troops alone. On Friday he made a last-ditch attempt calling on Western men able to fight to come and help the Ukrainian people, which is unlikely to happen.
Also, Zelenski asked Putin to start negotiating. As the Kremlin sees it, there will be no negotiation. What they’re aiming for are surrender and a complete regime change. Moscow wants to get rid of Zelenski, accusing him of being a US puppet, and replace him with a pro-Russian president. The goal is to stop the current US efforts to bring heavy arms to Ukraine, ostensibly for defense purposes.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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