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Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko plan to defend Ukraine from Russian invasion

The two former heavyweight titleholders say it’s their duty to defend their country.

Both brothers feel compelled to aid in the defense of Ukraine.
Both brothers feel compelled to aid in the defense of Ukraine.
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

There’s no question it’s been a unsettling couple of days following Russian’s armed invasion of Ukraine, and now two former heavyweight champions (and Ukraine nationals) in Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko express their compulsion to join the armed conflict in order to protect their country.

Vitali Klitschko is currently serving as the mayor of Kyiv — which is currently the setting of an ongoing military battle — and says he has no other choice but to take an active role in defending his city and country.

“It’s already a bloody war. ... I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight.”

Wladimir Klitschko has also been preparing to engage in the conflict after he enlisted in Ukraine’s national reserve army earlier this month as it began to look like a Russian invasion was forming.

“Now, the Russian president [Vladimir Putin] is using war rhetoric ... he makes it clear that he wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people. ... Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us. ... We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy.”

We send our thoughts and prayers to the Klitschkos as well as all of those who have been unimaginably impacted but the ongoing conflict.