As Russian troops and armored convoys close in on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv’s mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, remains defiant, insisting that the Russians will “never ever” enter the city, and that “we will never give up.”
“I feel so bad, as every Ukrainian citizen, because nobody feels safe right now in Ukraine,” Klitschko told Al Jazeera. “The Russians … explain they target only military forces, but today, we have pictures of [civilian] buildings where very peaceful people lived, which have been destroyed.”
The attack Klitschko was referring to occurred in northern Kyiv and led to the destruction of apartments on several floors, damaging both the front and back of the residential building.
“People died, many are injured … Kyiv is not the [only] one,” Klitschko said, noting that many other Ukrainian cities are being bombarded. “We have a lot of experience in the past couple of weeks with Russian aggression,” he added.
According to the mayor, Russia aims to instill “panic in the city … but we will never give up, we will fight,” he insisted. “Russians killed our children, destroyed our buildings, destroyed our city, we’re ready to fight … and defend our city.”
Despite the overwhelming superiority in numbers of the Russian army, Klitschko expressed optimism regarding the war’s outcome. “Never ever will Russians come to our city. I promise that as the mayor of Kyiv, and I told the people, the citizens, I told everyone [that],” he said. “Everyone … is prepared to take up weapons and ready to defend our future.
“We defend the principles, we defend the same values, it’s very important now to help Ukraine … because this war can touch anyone, not just in Europe,” he continued, repeating a plea that has been frequently heard over the past few weeks: “Please, give us modern weapons … and we, by ourselves, will close the skies over our heads.”