Ukraine ‘under threat’ from ‘aggressor’ – Boxing icon Klitschko
Ex-boxing king and current mayor of Ukraine Vitali Klitschko has warned that Ukraine is "under threat" from a Russian military invasion and said he is ready to "defend" the country from the risk he perceives.
Long-serving champion Klitschko revealed he had joined Ukraine's military reservists and claimed that his homeland is at war at the start of 2022, and he has now issued another message that appeared to echo accusations by Western officials and media that Moscow is gathering troops and military resources with the potential intention of invading its neighbor.
"When Ukraine is under threat of a possible military invasion from Russia, our unity and willingness to [keep] away the aggressor is our strength and key to preserving Ukrainian citizenship," the 50-year-old pugilist-turned-politician publicly told his large fanbase.
"We love our country and are ready and able to defend our independence and our democratic future. All together. Glory to Ukraine."
Klitschko pictured himself training in army gear at the turn of the year and seemed to suggest that Ukraine had been involved in a conflict with Russia "for almost eight years".
Moscow has repeatedly denied that action is being planned against Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin adding that he views the continued development of the Western military bloc eastward as a threat.
In November, Russia proposals to the US and NATO treaties suggested a bar on the movement of Western military infrastructure closer to its borders and mooted an effective ban on Ukraine from joining NATO.
Known as 'Dr Ironfist' during his celebrated sporting career, Klitschko also discussed his ordeal with Covid, which he recently contracted despite being vaccinated twice.
The mayor of the capital since 2014 has drawn some controversy over restrictions in the city related to Covid.
"Omicron is sneaky because it has symptoms of a common cold: runny nose, slight cough, lack of temperature," said Klitschko, explaining that he has now tested negative.
"So if you have such symptoms, do not be lazy to take a quick test. [I] first did an antigen test which showed a negative, then went to the hospital.
"All is well, the virus is gone. The conclusion is: get vaccinated. [One] conclusion [that] is also important [is to] follow your health, do not neglect danger. Take care of yourselves."
Klitschko last fought when he retained the WBC heavyweight title in 2012.