Vitali Klitschko, warrior mayor of Kiev: “The Russians will not pass, give us the right weapons”

Of Lorenzo Cremonesi

The mayor of the capital, legendary boxer (with doctorate). “We are pushing back the Russians, but the price of resistance is very high”


from our correspondent

KIEV
– «We Ukrainians are ready to stop the Russian advance. We have already blocked them at the gates of Kiev. But we know that Putin he intends to capture our city, it was his original plan from the first day of the war and he will certainly try again. Let us not let our guard down and we need your help, our battle is yours too ». Mayor
Vitali Klitschko
he does not deny his past as a professional boxer accustomed to winning: a thoroughbred fighter. Three days ago we met him in front of the buildings of his city damaged by Russian bullets while he instilled courage in the inhabitants. At 51 he maintains the dry physique of the sportsman who continues to train. Yesterday he talked to us for a long time, happy to turn to a European newspaper.

A few days ago the Russian troops were in the village of Irpin, less than five kilometers from the urban area of ​​Kiev. But they failed to enter: what happened?

“We stopped them. But the price was very high. Not only Irpin, but also Hostomel, Bucha and many other villages are destroyed, there are over 30,000 displaced people and we still do not know the numbers of victims in the areas outside Kiev. I believe that in the next two days we will be able to push the Russians further away ».

But what if Putin, frustrated by the difficulties encountered, should resort to massive bombings on the capital?

“Three weeks ago the Russian special forces launched directly on Kiev, hoping to occupy it quickly. But our troops successfully thwarted that plan. And I am very proud of our soldiers who had the spirit to resist against one of the strongest armies in the world ».

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What if long-range missiles arrive?

“We have already evacuated the weakest and those who cannot fight, and a vast network of shelters and bunkers has been prepared to save the population. I hope the bombing doesn’t start. We already register over 200 civilians killed in Kiev, many children, not a day goes by now that our people are not bombed with dead, wounded, condominiums, houses, shops, schools, clinics destroyed. But of course Putin could at some point attack us heavily ».

Do you think there is a risk of using chemical or even atomic weapons? “A madman who launched this absurd war in the heart of Europe could make equally mad moves. His ambitions are sick: killing children, women, the elderly, the sick for no reason is absurd. I hope it doesn’t happen ».

Can you confirm that only half of the original nearly four million inhabitants remain in Kiev?

“Yes, about two million are left in the city. If Putin used chemical weapons it would be a crime against an entire nation, an unacceptable fact ».

How do you explain that so far the urban center of Kiev has been much less damaged than other cities, such as Kharkiv or Mariupol?

“This is the reason why we continue to ask our European allies and NATO to send us the weapons necessary to defend our skies as soon as possible. If NATO cannot do it, we need the means to defend ourselves. We need Stinger anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles and all those advanced weapons capable of blocking attacks from the air. Please support us ».

Therefore, you understand the reasons why NATO cannot create a no-fly zone that would lead to direct confrontation with the Russians, but you are asking for weapons. Correct?

“We are able to close our airspace by ourselves, we have the soldiers and the knowledge to do it. We do not need the direct intervention of NATO. But we absolutely must have the right weapons. Do not forget that we defend our territory, but at the same time also the fundamental values ​​of European democracy. The Ukrainians are your wall, your front line, we protect you from the next Russian invasion ».

Would you be willing to renounce integration into the European Union in order to stop the Russian attack and sign peace with Putin?

“No, I’m not. We are Europeans. Everyone must know that the origins of this war lie in the fact that Putin would like to recreate the old Soviet Union. But we have an absolutely different vision of our future. Therefore, we are not fighting only to defend Kiev and our territories, but to guarantee the values ​​of European democracies, we are fighting for you ».

A few days ago you received the Polish, Czech and Slovenian premieres in Kiev. Do you expect the same from other European leaders, such as Draghi or Macron?

“I have immense respect for everyone who supports us. Here we very much appreciated the Italian proposal to finance the reconstruction of the Mariupol theater devastated by Russian bombs. Thanks to everyone who comes here and bravely defies the Russian military threat ».

And what do you think of the debate in Italy and in European countries on the risk of jeopardizing our Russian gas supplies to support Ukraine?

«My message is clear: please block any economic relationship with Russia, because Putin uses every euro to strengthen his army that marches against us. I also want to say that I infinitely appreciate the Italian families who welcome refugees from Ukraine into their homes. Really thanks to all of you Italians ».


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