“Freedom is priceless. So much so that it is worth fighting for. […] We want to live with our heads held high, not as kneeling slaves,” said Wladimir Klitschko in an exclusive interview with Hungarian conservative portal Válasz Online. The former Ukrainian world boxing champion, whose brother Vitali, also a former boxer and is currently mayor of Kyiv, is not a politician; instead, he calls himself an activist. He was asked about the war in Ukraine and Hungary’s role in it.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
Asked why he had wanted to talk to a Hungarian journalist for so long, the athlete replied: “Yes, why not? Hungary is a part of Europe, whose democratic values we share. Although Ukraine is not a member of the EU, it has been fighting for accession since 2014 in accordance with European principles. I have visited the country many times, I also have many friends there,” he emphasizes right at the beginning of the interview, and adds:
“I don’t want to get involved in politics, but I think Hungary has a kind of loyalty to Russia,” Klitschko said in the interview, adding that this loyalty is still palpable. In the interview, he was also asked about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s international press conference on April 6, in which he did not clearly name the person responsible for the Bucha massacre, to which Klitschko reacted sharply:
Who do you think could have done it? Who occupied whom? Is it ourselves who did it? Would we have mass murdered our own people just to show it to the world and blame others? Bucha was a clear message from the Russian president, and we Ukrainians have been the victims of his aggression for more than 50 days. If someone looks away and pretends not to see anything, he becomes a passive war leader and gets blood on his hands.”
Orbán later clarified his position on the massacre.
Klitschko himself was in Bucha and said that for the Russians the “special operation” meant the killing of Ukrainians. “There were young people lying in the street, a tank ran over the car of a family whose bodies were still in the car. Others showed signs of torture. They were shot in the head. I don’t want to remember everything I saw, but there is evidence of crime. Those pictures, that smell…,” Klitschko recalled what he saw.
Klitschko believes that Ukraine will be stronger than ever after the war, but continues to ask for help:
We need support: military, financial, humanitarian. As long as the war is not over, it cannot be enough. Stand by us, and we will stand by you. And believe me: we will return all the aid! Many times over. Just help us to end the war – because we will protect you from the evil that has come to our country!”
Wladimir Wladimirowitsch Klitschko (Ukrainian: Володимир Володимирович Кличко, born March 25, 1976) is a Ukrainian former professional boxer who competed
from 1996 to 2017. He held the world heavyweight championship twice, including the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and Ring
magazine titles. A strategic and intelligent boxer, Klitschko is considered to be one of the best heavyweight champions of all time. He is the younger brother of Vitali Klitschko.
Featured image via Andy Rain/MTI/EPA