Russia launched its land, air and sea invasion on Thursday following a declaration of war by President Vladimir Putin. About 100,000 people fled as explosions and gunfire rocked major cities. Dozens were reportedly killed.
Vitali Klitschko, mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kiev since 2014, said he was ready to fight.
“I have no other choice, I have to. I’m going to fight,” the 50-year-old, known as “Dr. Ironfist” during his fighting days, told Good Morning Britain from the British channel ITV.
Vitali Klitschko said Kyiv was under threat and the main priority was to work with police and military forces to support critical infrastructure, including the supply of electricity, gas and water to its citizens.
He added that the civilians were ready to defend Kiev as soldiers.
“I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” said Vitali Klitschko.
Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko joined Ukraine’s reserve army earlier this month, saying love for his country compelled him to defend it.
“The Ukrainian people are strong. And they will remain true to themselves in this terrible ordeal. A people who yearn for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people as their brother,” he wrote. Thursday in a LinkedIn post.
“He knows that deep down they don’t want this war. The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy.
“But: democracy is a fragile regime. Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy without democrats.”