Vitali Klitschko says Ukraine’s capital was surrounded, dismissing his own remarks as ‘Russian lies’ shortly afterwards
The Ukrainian capital has been “blocked” by the Russian army, the mayor of Kiev, former world heavyweight champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, told The Associated Press on Sunday when asked if the evacuation civilians in the city was possible.
“We can’t do that, because all avenues are blocked,” he said, according to AP. “Right now we are surrounded.”
The AP noted that it was unable to independently verify the claim made by the official. Shortly after the interview was published, however, the mayor took to social media to rebut the bold claim, bizarrely blaming his own statement to the main New York-based news agency on “Russian media”.
“In the evening, Russian Internet sites disseminated information quoting me myself that Kiev was surrounded and the evacuation of people was impossible,” he added. Klitschko wrote.
“Don’t believe the lies! Trust information from official sources only,” he added.
He did not specify which “official resources” must be trusted. Moscow remained silent on the mayor’s claim, with no official suggesting before or after his interview that the Ukrainian capital was indeed “surrounded”.
Ukraine’s years-long crisis became even more turbulent this week, when Russia launched a full-scale offensive against the country’s military, citing the need to protect the country’s eastern breakaway republics from attack. allegedly imminent Kiev, an accusation the Ukrainian side denied, calling the attack “without provocation”.
Days before the start of the military operation, Moscow officially recognized the independence of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which broke away from Ukraine in 2014 after the Maidan coup and endured for years of armed conflict with the forces of Kiev.
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