Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

The former heavyweight champion also warned that Russian aggression would spread further if not stopped in Ukraine.

Wladimir Klitschko has issued a statement following the Russian Federation’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion on Ukraine.

The former world heavyweight boxing champion and younger brother of Kyiv mayor, Vitali Klitschko, posted a series of tweets in English condemning the invasion and emphasizing that Ukraine will not give up in the face of destruction.

“Putin makes it clear that he wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people,” Klitschko wrote on Twitter. “Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us. That’s it, blood will mix with tears. The Ukrainian people are strong. And it will remain true to itself in this terrible ordeal. A people longing for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people their brothers. It knows that they basically do not want this war.”

Klitschko also called on the international community to defend democratic values by protesting the ongoing invasion.

“You can do something by mobilizing and organizing huge demonstrations. Make your voice heard. Say it loud and clear that international law and democracy are under attack, that war is the greatest evil and that life is sacred,” Klitschko said.

On the morning of Feb. 24, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced in a televised speech that he had approved a “special military operation” in eastern Ukraine, insisting that Russia’s goal was not to occupy Ukraine but the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of its government.

However, despite Putin’s statement that the operation would take place in eastern Ukraine, several areas throughout Ukraine were targeted by missile strikes, which prompted thousands of Ukrainians to flee the capital.

At least 40 people have been killed according to an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Despite the fatalities, Klitschko intends to remain in Kyiv and called on Western democracies to stand strong against Putin’s imperialism.

“This war against my country is not only the result of one man’s madness, but also the result of years of weakness in Western democracies,” Klitschko said. “This madness must be stopped now by stepping up deterrents. Our governments need to say things loud and clear.”

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