Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kiev and former heavyweight boxer, says ‘we prepare for any case’ over tension with Russia

“If escalation goes up … We have to be ready to defend our independence and integrity of our country — and civil defense also have [sic] to be prepared,” Klitschko instructed CNN’s Lynda Kinkade on “Connect the World” Wednesday.

“We hope this never happens, this [is] worst case, but we have to be prepared,” the former world heavyweight champion added.

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There has been months of tension close to the Ukraine-Russia border, the place greater than 100,000 Russian troopers have massed.

Klitschko stated he’s “worried” about Russian navy forces on the border however says it’s a risk that what’s being witnessed is merely a matter of optics, calling Russian techniques a “muscle game.”

Russia has not dedicated to de-escalate after two rounds of diplomatic talks this week, Deputy US Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stated Wednesday.

Moscow is demanding safety ensures from the US and NATO, together with a binding pledge that NATO will not increase farther east and is not going to enable Ukraine to hitch the navy alliance — one thing NATO is unwilling to do.

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During Wednesday’s roughly four-hour assembly — which went on longer than scheduled — Sherman stated that the US and its NATO allies made clear that Russia’s demand Ukraine by no means be permitted to hitch NATO was a non-starter.

The talks with the NATO-Russia Council is the second of three units of conferences this week. They are sandwiched between Monday’s US-Russia talks and Thursday’s assembly between Russa and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Klitschko was a fierce world heavyweight boxing champion before turning his hand to politics.

Klitschko criticized the talks in Switzerland and Belgium for not together with Ukraine at a excessive stage and known as it a “geo-political” sport.

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“Everybody is talking about Ukraine, without Ukraine,” Klitschko stated.

Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Grushko stated after Wednesday’s session that NATO’s conduct is creating unacceptable dangers for Russia. Klitschko described Grushko’s feedback as a “political game.”

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“Without weapons delivering to this region, without financial support, without propaganda, this conflict will never, ever happen. Everything happens under control of [the] Russian Federation,” the former boxer stated.

Sherman known as it “hard to understand” how Russia may really feel threatened by Ukraine when it has the most important standard navy in Europe.

‘Democratic European nation’

Before getting into politics, Klitschko was a world champion heavyweight boxer, retiring with a document of 45 wins and simply two losses.
He introduced his intention to run for the nation’s presidency in 2015, however withdrew his bid and as an alternative endorsed billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who served from 2014-2019 earlier than being defeated by incumbent Volodymyr Zelensky.
Klitschko considers Zelensky a rival, and has accused the President of sending state safety brokers to his residence to place political strain on him. The state safety company denied having taken motion towards him.
Before the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, Klitschko was a key opposition chief throughout protests towards its neighbor’s invasion.

“In 2014 Ukraine decided to take a European direction of development of our country. It is not [the] Russian Federation and Mr. Putin is not happy with this decision because his idea [is] to rebuild [the] Soviet Empire,” stated Klitschko, referring to the Russian President.

“We don’t want to be back to [the] USSR. We see our future as [a] democratic European country.”

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Known as Dr. Ironfist when he boxed attributable to his doctorate in sport science, Klitschko stands at an imposing 6 toes, 7½ inches.

His brother Wladimir, 5 years his junior, was additionally a world champion, and retired in 2017 after profitable 64 of his 69 fights and retaining his heavyweight title for over 9 years.

Klitschko is serving his second time period on the helm of Kiev.

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