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‘We are ready to fight’: Defiant Klitschko brothers call on world to step up aid to Ukraine

By Alex Crawford, Special Envoy, in Kyiv

The building was still emitting black smoke and firefighters were still pouring water on the 15-storey building in western Kyiv when the city’s most famous boxer brothers arrived.

The brothers entered the gardens of apartments in the Svyatoshynskyi district of the capital, with all the purpose and determination that saw them both become world heavyweight boxing champions in the past.

“This is war,” the younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko, told Sky News as he stood in front of the burning building.

“People have been killed by Russian rockets, and it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last.”

He pointed to my bulletproof vest and the sign on the front saying PRESS: “It doesn’t matter who you are on Ukrainian soil now…if you have a press badge, or if you’re a little girl or a boy, an adult , man or woman… or an elderly person… you are a target of Russia, of the Russian army.”

The residential block is just the latest in a series of sites to be hit by Russian strikes in the capital for the second straight day – most of them civilian areas.

We walked through shattered windows and torn storefronts right next to Lukianivska metro station, just three kilometers from the center.

It is the closest attack so far to the center of the capital and seems to indicate that Russian troops are penetrating more and more into the city.

The apparent increase in strikes in the capital over the past 48 hours may be one of the reasons why city authorities have imposed a curfew in Kyiv, lasting around 35 hours from 8 p.m. on March 15 until 8 a.m. on March 17.

The mayor, Vitali Klitschko, urged his fellow townspeople to: “Please spend time in the bunkers”.

And he castigated the rest of the world for not doing enough to help.

“Everyone is angry…they don’t want to live in this activity…to bring a lot more energy to everyone…everyone doesn’t want to live, want to defend, defend our city…they don’t disappoint…they upset really what russian soldiers are doing with civilians…but everyone…i talk to people…instead of evacuating to the west they ask about weapons and talk we are ready to be on defense civil society and to defend our homes.

And to the rest of the world: “Give us arms. We are ready to fight.

Asked about the curfew, he insisted: “The situation is under control and we are ready to fight. It is not critical. The goal of the Russians… the target is kyiv.

“It’s not a secret. They had the idea to circle and be in Kyiv already three weeks ago, but our soldiers destroyed all their plans and are now defending our city.”

In response to the imposed curfew, he replied: “Because we expect a lot more activity at the moment and that’s why it’s to get people to safety, that’s why.

“Security is the priority above all else and everyone’s men must defend…civil and military defense will defend our city and that is for safety and security reasons.”

He didn’t want to know if that meant authorities thought the situation was going to get worse and instead said: “We can’t predict, but we have to be prepared for any scenario…but we see what happened. in Kharkiv and Mariupol, so the answer is clear…they don’t stop.They (the Russians) don’t pay any attention to the civilians.

Alex Crawford reports with cameraman Jake Britton and producers Chris Cunningham, Jake Jacobs and Oleksandre Piskun