Old pics show Vitali Klitschko in army gear after defiant vow to fight Russia

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Photos show Vitali Klitschko donning army gear after he warned Vladimir Putin that he will fight to defend Ukraine from the invasion of Russia.

The images, taken in 2021, will be sure to send a chill down Putin's spine with the former heavyweight boxing champion ready to fight for his country after Russia launched a "full-scale invasion".

So far at least 137 people were killed on the first day of the invasion, according to reports. Explosions have been heard across the country, in cities such as Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odessa and the capital city of Kyiv, of which Klitschko is the mayor.

The former boxer issued a defiant statement and believes the people of Ukraine are ready to “defend our city", which he believes is under threat of a Russian takeover.

Old pictures suggest he is ready to live up to his word.

"I believe. I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people,” he told Good Morning Britain.

Asked if he would join civilians and soldiers in fighting Russian forces, Klitschko said: "I don't have another choice. I have to do that," before adding: "I will be fighting."

Now, pictures of the hulking 6ft 5in athlete in army gear have began recirculating as he prepares to take up arms.

Pictures from March last year show Klitschko and fellow district mayors on the way to a shooting range in an army vehicle. They also practiced persevering in a hole in the ground under an approaching tank followed by a hand grenade throwing.

The exercise was standard in the Soviet Army.

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Pictures also show Klitschko in a Soviet anti-aircraft gun SU-23, which can also be used for anti-tank defence.

Vitali has held the roles of Mayor of Kyiv and head of the Kyiv City State Administration since 2014.

While many Ukrainian citizens are fearing for their safety, the politician tweeted out an encouraging message during a very worrying time.

“Be sure: Ukraine is strong!” he penned. “It has a strong capital #Kyiv, strong cities, villages and a strong solid and united people who value above all their independence, sovereignty and peace in Europe.

“Its WILL to exist is infinite. Glory to Ukraine!”

His younger brother Wladimir also took to social media to remind his followers of historic lessons.

“The world is watching how reckless and deadly imperialism is, not just for #Ukraine but the whole world,” Klitschko wrote. “Let history be a lesson to not be repeated.”

Around 10,000 troops moved into two breakaway areas of Ukraine – Donbas and Luhansk – that Putin recognised as independent states in the most aggressive move in recent times.

  • Good Morning Britain
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Russia

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