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Oleksandr Usyk Appeals To Russian President Vladimir Putin To Call Off The Invasion Of Ukraine

Rory O'Callaghan

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Oleksandr Usyk Appeals To Russian President Vladimir Putin To Call Off The Invasion Of Ukraine

World heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to call off the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia launched a full-scale military assault on Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday morning, with battles now raging across the country.

Ukraine’s health minister Viktor Lyashko says a total of 198 Ukrainians, including three children, have been killed since the start of the invasion.

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Unified heavyweight champion Usyk, 35, returned to his native Ukraine earlier this week and has now called on Putin to initiate a ceasefire.

“Good morning to everybody,” Usyk wrote, alongside a video posted on his Instagram page.

“My name is Oleksandr Usyk. I’d like to speak to the people of Russia.

“If we consider ourselves as brothers, orthodox ones. Do not let your children to set out to our country, do not fight with us.

“Also I’m addressing this to the President Vladimir Putin. You can stop this war. Please just sit down and negotiate it with us without claims.

Usyk was expected to face Anthony Joshua in a rematch later this year (Image: PA)
Usyk was expected to face Anthony Joshua in a rematch later this year (Image: PA)

“Our kids, wives, grannies are hiding in the basements… we are here in our own country, we cannot do it other way – we are defending… Stop it!

“Stop this war.”

Usyk was expected to defend his world titles in a rematch against Anthony Joshua in either May or June.

There are now major doubts over whether the fight will take place.

Meanwhile, former heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have confirmed they will take up arms in the defence of Ukraine.

Vitali, who has been the major of Kyiv since 2014, said he is ready to fight in the war.

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“I don't have another choice. I have to do that," said the 50-year-old.

“I will be fighting. I believe in Ukraine. I believe in my country and I believe in my people.”

His younger brother Wladimir, 45, had already enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve forces earlier this month.

“It is the love, the love for my city, my home, my family, my neighbours, my daughter that has brought me here, that I took this initiative and am now taking part in this territorial defence,” said Wladimir, earlier this month.

“I can’t stand still and I won’t. That’s why I signed up for the territorial defence of the country and the city.”

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Featured Image Credit: PA Images & Instagram: Oleksandr Usyk

Topics: Oleksandr Usyk, Boxing, Heavyweight Boxing

Rory O'Callaghan
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