Kyiv’s Mayor, With Russian Forces Nearing: “We’re Ready to Fight”

“This is our home.”

Kyiv mayor Vitali KlitschkoSERGEI SUPINSKY/Getty

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If and when Russian forces surround the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, the city is “ready to fight,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko said on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday.

“Russian forces are roughly 15 miles from Kyiv’s city center. I know you just got off the phone with your president, Zelenskyy. What did you tell him about the threat facing your capital city? Is an attack imminent?” CNN anchor Dana Bash asked Klitschko.

“Russians, it’s not secret that the goal, the target is Kyiv,” Klitschko said, appearing next to his brother, Wladimir Klitschko, a member of Ukraine’s reserve army. “That’s why we’re ready to fight. We defend our city, and, right now [there have been] huge, huge patriotic waves, because people who never, ever expect to take weapons in hand to defend houses, children and our future—future of our country.”

Military strikes have intensified in the area around Kyiv in recent days. When asked how long Ukrainian forces in Kyiv can hold out if Russia cuts off access to essential supplies, Wladimir told Bash, “We’re highly motivated to defend our country because this is our home. That’s where our children were going to school. That’s where our relatives [are] buried in the ground. This is our home…We will defend the country until [the] last drop of the blood.”

At one point in the interview, Bash asked Klitschko if he was worried about being a target. “Yes, of course,” he replied. “Right now, it’s every Ukrainian is [a] target.”

The mayor also called for “unity of all” to stop the war: “We have to make pressure, political pressure, sanction pressure, and, please, weapons delivering to Ukraine,” he said. “We’re ready to fight, not just for our city, not just for our country. We’re fighting for exactly the same values, for same principles. This war can touch anyone, everyone in the European Union, in Europe, and can touch everyone in the world.”

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