Russian invasion of Ukraine: boxing legend Klitschko calls on world leaders to 'act now'
Wladimir Klitschko, the former world heavyweight champion, has taken up arms alongside his brother Vitali to help defend Ukraine from Russian invaders.
Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday 24 February, and as of Sunday morning Putin's forces are pounding the Ukrainian capital in a bid to break Ukrainian resistance. Amid this ongoing war, former world boxing champion, Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko has called on "the entire world" to help stop Russia.
Russia invaded Ukraine after weeks of rising political tension. That conflict escalated on Friday and into Saturday, with fighting now reported to have reached the capital, Kyiv.
Klitschko's brother is mayor Kyiv
Wladimir, a two-time heavyweight world champion, and his older brother Vitali, who is the mayor of Kyiv, have both pledged to take up arms to help defend the city and their country.
In a video posted to his official Twitter account on Saturday, Wladimir Klitschko spoke powerfully of the need for more action from other nations.
Heavy sanctions have been placed on Russia by the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, though there is no sign of a ceasefire.
Russian officials have offered to hold peace talks with their Ukrainian counterparts, though only on the condition that Ukraine's army surrenders. Some NATO officials have speculated that Russia has been claiming to be going slow with the invasion to allow time for talks, when the reality is that the invasion is not going to plan and has been bogged down by the unexpectedly fierce resistance offered by the Ukrainian fighters.
"I'm addressing the entire world, to stop this war that Russia has started," Wladimir Klitschko said in the video.
"Just today, civilians were shot by the rockets with special operations surveillance getting killed(*), and it's happening in the heart of Europe.
"There's no time to wait, because it's going to bleed into a humanitarian catastrophe.
"You need to act now to stop Russian aggression, with anything you can have now. In an hour, or by tomorrow, it's going to be too late. Please, get into action now. Don't wait, act now, stop this war."
Multiple sportspeople and organisations have called for the end of the conflict, with Russia having been stripped of the Champions League final – initially due to be held in St Petersburg – and the Formula One Russian Grand Prix.
(*) Wladimir Klitschko's claim could not been verified at the time of publication.