War in Ukraine: “Putin never accepted our desire for democracy”, asserts Vitali Klitschko

Two years ago today, on February 24, 2022, Ukraine woke up to bombing after the launch of the “special operation” decided by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The invasion of Ukraine today seems bogged down, the front lines are moving very little.

Vitali Klitschko, former world boxing champion and current mayor of kyiv, has become a strong figure on the Ukrainian side in this conflict.

For RFI, he looks back on these last two years of war and bombings.

The mayor of kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, at the scene of a neighborhood partly destroyed after an aerial attack by the Russian army, January 2, 2024. AP - Efrem Lukatsky

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For sixteen years, he reigned among the heavyweights in boxing with his brother Wladimir.

And since he hung up his gloves after a 45th and final victory (in 47 fights) in September 2012,

Vitali Klitschko

has continued the fight, this time in the political arena.

During the

Maidan revolution in 2014

, he was already very active.

That same year, he became mayor of kyiv.

And today, the former boxer is fighting for his country, invaded for two years by the Russian army.

Ten years ago, when the pro-European movement of Maidan was blowing and bringing down former president Viktor Yanukovych, Vitali Klitschko could not imagine seeing his country mired in a bloody conflict with Russia.


No one in the world could have predicted such a war in Ukraine.

Ukraine has always been a peaceful country.

Today, it is a harsh reality.

We have no choice, we must defend our country

 ,” explains the mayor to

Marion Cazanove

 for RFI.

Also read: Vitali Klitschko, the former boxer who became mayor of kyiv

Putin wants to bring us back to the USSR


The war with Moscow is explained, according to the city councilor, by Kiev's desire to get closer to Europe: “ 

Everyone must understand the reasons for this senseless war: we, Ukrainians, want to be part of the European family.

We want to be a democratic country.

And Putin never shared, never accepted our desire to be a democratic country.



Ukraine has never been independent, it has always been a part of Russia.

The reason for this war is that Putin wants to bring us back to the USSR.

We don't want to go back to the past.

We see our future within the European family.

We are fighting for our future, a democratic future for our children

 ,” he continues.

Also read: Two years of war in Ukraine: Western officials flock to kyiv

I thank our allies who provided us with anti-aircraft defense systems


The Ukrainian capital has been bombarded by the Russian army in recent weeks.

But for Vitali Klitschko, the situation is generally better this winter in kyiv compared to the previous one.


Last year was difficult.

We had major electricity deficits because the Russians bombed our infrastructure.

For this year, I thank our allies who have provided us with modern anti-aircraft defense systems.

Almost every attack on Kiev, with drones, missiles, was neutralized

 ,” explains the mayor.

However, “ 

the situation is still complicated

 ,” he recalls.


Last year, air alerts sounded more than 800 times in Kiev.

Over twelve months, the population spent a total of one month sheltered in bunkers or underground.

Now, as the city is better protected, people are coming back.

Before the war, there were 3.8 million inhabitants in kyiv.

Right now there are 3.5 million.

But we must not forget that among them, 400,000 are refugees from Eastern and Southern Ukraine

 ,” insists Vitali Klitschko.

Also read: Ukraine: what these two years of war have changed for Volodymyr Zelensky


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