Wladimir Klitschko urges world to defend Ukraine ‘collectively’

Ex-world heavyweight boxing champion, Wladimir Klitschko, warns that the Russian aggression could spread to the world if not stopped in Ukraine.

Wladimir Klitschko urges world to defend
Wladimir Klitschko speaking to Al Jazeera [Screen grab/ Al Jazeera]

Wladimir Klitschko, former world heavyweight boxing champion, has urged the world to stop Russia’s military operation in his country “collectively”, warning that the aggression could spread to the world if not stopped in Ukraine.

The twin brother of the Kyiv mayor, Vitali Klitschko, told Al Jazeera from his hometown on Thursday that some Kyiv residents were fleeing the capital while others were taking weapons to defend “because we chose how we want to live”.

“This is the war in Europe and if we don’t stop it collectively, it is going to spread further …  God forbid.”

Parallel with Nazi Germany

Klitschko also drew parallels between the attacks Kyiv experienced by Russia and Nazi Germany.

“The last time the city of Kyiv was woken up at 4 o’clock in the morning was in 1941 when the Nazi aeroplanes were bombing Kyiv,” he said.

“There is an unfortunate parallel with something that has happened this morning. Almost five million people who live in the city as well as myself were woken up due to explosions 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Klitschko said Ukraine was “the most peaceful nation” and it was “so unfortunate” that its own neighbour was attacking it.

“It is not acceptable,” he said, adding, “This is terrifying and challenging events in the history of Kyiv and the whole of Ukraine.”

Smoke rises in Kyiv from the territory of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry's unit
Smoke rises from the territory of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence’s unit in Kyiv [Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters]

Right to defend

Asked about the dangers behind President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s initiative to arm all civilians who want to defend the homeland, Klitschko said the Ukrainians had the right to defend themselves, their freedom and their choice to orient their country away from Russia and in favour of closer ties to NATO and the West.

“It is horrifying to realise that in 2022 something like that [the Russian invasion] could happen,” he said.

He wished for decisive global action in response to the violence.

“The response should stop this aggression. Whatever the response is. I just wish the world and not just the European Union or Europe is going to do everything to stop the killing of Ukrainians and stop this senseless war,” Klitschko said.

Russian invasion of Ukraine, places of attack

Source: Al Jazeera