On tonight’s Piers Morgan Uncensored heavyweight champion turned soldier Wladimir Klitschko spoke about how he was prepared to die to save his country and thanked the UK and Boris Johnson for their support of Ukraine.
In an emotionally-charged interview, he opened up to TalkTV host Piers Morgan, revealing he’s seen war crimes with his own eyes and he called for a ban on all Russian athletes, asking the IOC to act now.
Speaking about seeing the results of terrible crimes with his own eyes, he said:
“Russia needs Ukraine obviously, as we see, but Russia doesn’t need Ukrainians, and that’s why civilians are getting killed and residential districts inthe city are being bombed by phosphorus bomb, cluster bombing which is continuing.”
He added: “I was in Bucha, I saw it with my own eyes. All the civilians that had been tortured, with their hands tied behind their backs, with a shot in the head – executed. There are so many children that have been suffering, killed or injured up to 1000 children, we can’t give exact numbers as the numbers are still going up and counting.”
He went on to say: “The world has underestimated this madman’s aggression. Now is the consequence…now the free world is openly supporting us with defensive weapons. In a war, you can’t fight with bare knuckles, we need weapons to protect the sky above our heads, and protect our home country and the war is reckless. I couldn’t even imagine in my life that any other human can do something like that to another human.That’s what I’ve seen in Bucha.”
He went on to say: “The genocide of the Ukraine population must be stopped and this is not the war the world should be scared of… it is happening in Ukraine. Mariupol has been destroyed completely, and we just hope and will do anything for it, so that this war is going to be stopped with the help of the free world.”
On Great Britain and Boris Johnson’s support of his country, he said:
“I want to say thank you to Great Britain and Boris Johnson, that [he] has stepped in. He was trying a lot from the early beginning to find the way, how he can talk to Putin, how he can prevent the first steps that unfortunately were made and the lines were crossed. And all the support and supply that we were receiving, from the beginning, and it’s so great to have allies and partners of our nation. I want to say thank you and please don’t stop supporting us… Our economy is down to nothing. We have great will and we stand strong with our will against one of the strongest armies in the world but our will is stronger than any army or any weapon. We are dedicated to the country and freedom.”
He continued: “Europe and the world is suffering, the prices are going to go up. The gas prices, the food prices, so everything is connected with each other in this world. We are living in a global world and we are very, very connected with each other… If Ukraine fails, you are going to fail too guys.”
Piers replied that he was moved by the passion and determination.
The TV host said: “That was one of the most powerful openings to an interview I think I’ve done in my life, the passion, the eloquence, the resilience in your voice, the determination.”
Piers went on to ask if Ukraine could win and defeat Putin, the boxer responded:
“We didn’t start this war …. We cannot plan for the next minute, hour, day. We need support, that partially we are getting. We are determined to protect ourselves, our families, our children, our parents that are with us or buried in the ground. This is our home. There is not even a doubt, we don’t ask ourselves, ‘Can we win it?’ This is our home, you’ll do anything for your children, your family, anything to protect, to cover, to give [a] future.”
He added Ukraine was a creative nation, a people who had designed helicopters and made strides forward in IT. He explained: “We are well educated, we are giving to the world, we are not taking. Yes, we ask a lot about help and support now… [but] we will give more, trust me.”
Piers asked about the part he and his brother Vitali, the mayor of Kyiv, were playing:
“Look, I am not going to talk a lot about my brother and myself, I believe there are women and men right now standing on the front line, protecting our country, who have lost their lives as well. I have lots of respect for all Ukrainians that [have been] doing for the past 83 days what we are doing.”
Asked if he was prepared to die:
“I could be with my child, somewhere in safety. My child is the most important thing in my life. But I also understood that there are much bigger things – freedom, your people, your country… I asked myself this question when Russian forces were on the outskirts of the city and if I wouldn’t be ready for it, I would have left.”
He said the city was empty and he could hear constant explosions. He said anyone in Ukraine now, Ukrainian or not, knows they are risking their lives by staying.
“Are you ready to give up anything you have for the country and freedom, that’s the question that millions of Ukrainians are asking and the answer is, ‘Yes’,” he said.
Asked about a message to Putin:
“There is no particular line that could do anything to Putin to change his life, or … change his opinion or stop this war. It’s just in a mad person’s mind and how you can convince a madman? I don’t even know?”
He added: “This is on Putin as well as on the free world because without your support and help, and if you are going to keep standing silently and just observe what is going on in Ukraine, blood is on your hands too.”
Asked whether sports people should be allowed to compete for Russia:
“On the economical side, [it should be the] isolation of Russia… no ships can park at any ports, they should understand that the world is against this senseless war, not just with wording and sanctions but with isolation.
“Athletes at the next Olympic games? I think the IOC should ban the Russian team now. The war is going now, they cannot participate at the next Olympic games, they cannot participate at any athletic events because this war is represented by Russia… I believe that this is going to be the message and is exactly for the answer to the question, ‘What I would you say to Mr Putin?’ … Actions speak louder than words. Isolation, and this isolation speaks louder than any word or any line because isolation is painful. It’s going to be painful for athletes, for the economy, it’s going to be painful for anyone and everybody involved with Russia.”
And speaking about Tyson Fury, he revealed:
“I was thinking I should just text Tyson Fury and tweet, ‘Last dance?’ He wants to retire. We were supposed to have this rematch and that’s what I was thinking about it. You know, I didn’t do it because my mind was in a totally different world.”
On his sporting dreams, he concluded: “I had a dream to become the oldest heavyweight champion of the world … But we were talking about something that was happening before and now there’s a big question mark.”
Piers Morgan Uncensored, TalkTV, 8pm Monday – Friday (Sky 526, Virgin Media 627, Freeview 237, and Freesat 217) and live and on demand on the TalkTV app and at Talk.TV