Vitali Klitschko calls Vladimir Putin a ‘gangrene’ as he begins training with Ukraine’s military reservists

However, Mr Klitschko has urged the West not to bow under Russian aggression, calling for tough retaliatory measures to get Mr Putin to back down as well as issuing a stark warning to the Russian president.

“We will not let you pull us back into the Soviet empire that we have rejected forever. Ukraine has chosen the European path and wants to establish itself as a rightful member of the European family – historically, geographically and mentally.”

“A response should be tough and unwavering and include not only cutting Russia off the global financial markets, suspending the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and imposing personal sanctions against Russia’s top officials but also a package of increased military aid with the most advanced weapons,” he said. 

“Those measures should have been in place much earlier, before a forthcoming Russian invasion.”

Writing in the German newspaper Bild last month, he said he is prepared to join the “fight for my mother country” and training with Ukraine’s military reservists in preparation for any conflict.

But Ukraine cannot win alone. It is only through partnerships and alliances that Mr Klitchsko believes Russian aggression can be pushed back. The Kyiv mayor was full of praise for Boris Johnson, who has previously said that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would be “catastrophic for the world”.

“I would thank Boris for all the support that Great Britain gives Ukraine,” Mr Klitschko said. “Also, I would assure him that the help of our partners with whom we share the democratic values is of crucial importance for us.”

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