Ukrainian former world heavyweight champion boxer Wladimir Klitschko is pleading for other countries to supply Ukraine with weapons for its troops to defend themselves against the Russian invasion.
“First and mostly, we need weapons. We cannot defend our country with our fists,” Klitschko told ABC News on Sunday when asked what could bring peace. He also answered economically sanctioning Russia: “Second, isolation. Economic isolation of Russia. Every cent and every trade that you do with Russia and every cent that Russia is getting, they’re using for weapons to kill us, Ukrainians.”
Klitschko, 46, competed from 1996 to 2017. He held the world heavyweight championship twice and grew into Hollywood fame in the U.S., appearing in cameos for several movies. He has a 7-year-old daughter with actress Hayden Panettiere.
Ukraine has been under attack from Russia since the end of February, with around 1,800 reported civilians killed in the war as of Sunday.
Klitschko brothers in arms: Boxing greats Vitali, Wladimir in fight of their lives for Ukraine
What’s everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day
Klitschko recently enlisted in the Ukrainian army. His brother, Vitali Klitschko, is the mayor of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. The two brothers appeared on the ABC News interview together and cautioned that there could be a domino effect with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Ukraine is just the beginning,” Wladimir Klitschko said. “They will roll further, and if we’re not going to stop them in Ukraine, they will go further. If we fail, the rest of the world, the free world will fail.”
The brothers’ boxing promoter for their company, K2 Promotions, Tom Loeffler, told USA TODAY Sports last month: “It’s truly a life-or-death situation for them. It’s one thing to face another man in the ring. With (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s military and weapons, you’re facing rockets and missiles, and whatever else they’re shooting at you. …It’s not a fair fight for the Klitschkos, or for the entire country of Ukraine.”