The Mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko has furiously branded Vladimir Putin a “sick” and “unhealthy” man in an emotional interview.
Klitschko said he had nothing to say to the Russian president and vowed to give his life to defend his country to stop it being subsumed into a "Russian empire”.
“No reason to talk to him. He’s sick, he’s unhealthy. Everything that I see in my home country… [he’s] just an unhealthy man,” Klitschko said in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News France.
He pointed to the destruction of cities such as Mariupol and killing of civilians, including six children in Kyiv.
“I have just one message to the Russians: you’re the aggressors, you’ve come to our country. Ukraine was always a friendly nation, a peaceful country. Right now, we have no choice but to fight and defend. The message to the Russians: go away from Ukraine. Go back home. You have nothing to find in our country. It’s our home.”
He repeated: “Stop the war. Stop the war. Go away from Ukraine. Main message.”
Klitschko cries ‘every day’
This week will mark one month since Russian forces invaded Ukraine with homes, schools and hospitals bombed in relentless shelling attacks. Hundreds of civilians have been killed and around 6.5 million people have been uprooted from homes.
Klitschko said he has cried every day since the start of the invasion and said the emotional toll on all citizens was overwhelming.
“Today morning, I cry. Every day,” he said.
“The women come to me with their children after rocket attack. They don’t have money, they don’t have apartments, they don’t have nothing. And they don’t know what to do.
“To be honest, I’m an old man, tough man. But it’s difficult to listen and difficult to take the human emotions.
"This war kill the plans, kill the lives, kill the future of many, many people and to be honest, I cry together. I cry together with these women. Women, they lose children, it’s difficult to see. It’s emotionally a huge challenge for every man.”
Klitschko said 220 civilian deaths have been reported in Kyiv alone so far.
However, Ukraine’s fierce resistance – along with organisational and logistical issues within Russia’s ranks – has meant the city is still standing strong.
The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recorded 2,421 civilian casualties in the country between February 24 and March 20; with 925 killed and 1,496 injured – 75 of those being children.
OHCHR believes the actual figures are much higher, with information in the war zones delayed and many reports still pending investigation.
Russia has not publicly accepted responsibility for a single civilian death in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s defence ministry has said that Russia has lost 15,000 military personnel, while Ukrainian forces destroyed 498 Russian tanks, 1535 armoured vehicles, 97 planes, 121 helicopters and 24 drones.
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