Thursday, February 9

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko to CNN: “Right now, I am very proud to be Ukrainian”

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Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko speaks to CNN on March 2 from Kyiv, Ukraine.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told CNN that while he has traveled the globe representing his country as a Hall of Fame boxer, right now he is “very proud to be Ukrainian.”

“We stayed in front of one of the strongest armies in the world,” the former world heavyweight boxing champion said. “The will to be independent is (the) main priority for us. And we’re defend(ing) our families, our city, our country and our future.”

Klitschko also called for countries to support Ukraine, because it will be “difficult to survive” without it.

Klitschko said infrastructure — electricity, heating and water — are up and running in Kyiv. He said authorities are in direct communications with the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations, who have sent food and support that is en route to the Ukrainian capital.

What Kyiv really needs, Klitschko said, is “more hard sanctions against Russia.”We have to keep united,” he said. “The war is not just for Ukraine. It’s (a) challenge for the whole modern world, for (the) whole democratic world.”

Klitschko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of attempting to remake the Soviet Union and make Ukraine “part of (a) Russian empire.”

The mayor said that Ukrainians will fight for “every square” and “every street” of Kyiv should Russian forces advance on the city.We expect a huge fight,” Klitschko said. “But we’re fighting for our families.”

The ex-boxer continued:

“There is a huge patriotic movement right now. Old people — can you imagine — doctors, actors, actors from theater, many professions that never had expectation to fight, to keep weapons, but right now they (are) coming to us,” Klitschko said. “They’re ready to fight. It’s amazing.”

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