Klitschko brothers urge Europe to stay strong for Ukraine

- BBC News

Klitschko brothers urge Europe to stay strong for Ukraine

European governments should "stay strong" even though the Ukraine war would hurt their economies, the Klitschko brothers told the BBC.

Former heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali were in Davos to encourage world leaders to support the Ukraines fight against Russia.

They acknowledged that some European leaders may be wavering in their commitment to the cause.

But they thanked the UK for its support, urging, “please don’t stop".

Ukraine’s Klitschko brothers dominated the sport of boxing for a decade. Both were world heavyweight champions, and between them they fought 40 title bouts.

Vitali Klitschko, the older of the two, turned to politics when his boxing career ended, and was elected mayor of Kyiv in 2014.

They are now bringing the power of their global fame to bear on another, even tougher fight. The brothers visited the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to urge the business and political leaders gathered there to step up their efforts in the struggle against Russian aggression.

“We are asking for help and support, we are getting some of it. But it is not enough because it’s never enough as long as this war is still going,” Wladimir Klitschko told the BBC.

Sanctions needed to go further, he said. “We need to walk the talk and not just say it but actually do it. Because very often it’s sad but in reality it’s not working.

"And that is why it is important to isolate Russia financially, economically, because every cent that they are getting is getting in the budgets to finance the war in Ukraine right now and finance their soldiers and buy more weapons that are killing us, Ukrainians.”

Wladimir told assembled reporters from the Swiss press that the country should set aside its long-standing tradition of neutrality, which has seen it prohibit Germany from supplying its stocks of Swiss-made ammunition to Ukrainian army.

The Klitschkos were at Davos town hall to meet a group of Ukrainian refugees who are staying in the area, before appearing on stage at the World Economic Forum.

Asked whether some nations, notably France and Germany, were beginning to waver in their support, and consider making concessions to Putin in a peace deal, Wladimir said: “I see that, and I tell to every politician, right now the world [is] black and white, and you have to decide: you on the side of democracy or peace, or you on the side of the dictator, the aggressors, Russian Federation?”

Vitali acknowledged that the world would pay a price to support Ukraine. “It is a very painful question for the economy but we pay to stop the war…with human lives.”

The brothers both thanked the British people for the support they have shown.

“I want to say thank you so much for all the support that has been provided since the beginning of the war,” said Wladimir. “And it is not just verbally, it is the financial side, military equipment, support for the refugees that have been taken, so we feel this it is very important for us. Please don’t stop, don’t stop supporting us don’t stop helping us as long as this war is still going.”

“Thank you Boris Johnson, and thank you everyone who supports Ukraine in Great Britain,” Vitali said.

Read it all at BBC News