Ex-boxing champ mayor of Kyiv ‘sucker punches’ authoritarian Zelensky

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko threw a hard right cross at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over the “authoritarian” hold he has over the country.

Klitschko, a former boxer who won multiple world heavyweight championships, has been mayor of Kyiv since 2014 and he likened Zelenskyy to Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview with the German news website Der Spiegel.

“At some point we will no longer be any different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man,” Klitschko said, with the Kyiv Independent reporting that he went on to allege that the office of mayor is seen as an obstacle to centralizing power by Zelenskyy’s office.

The mayor also suggested Zelenskyy is on his way out as president of Ukraine and that he is failing as a war leader.

Klitschko and Zelenskyy have “butted heads” since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, according to Fox News, which noted that Klitschko “praised Ukraine’s mayors for being the strong leaders necessary to protect their citizens while claiming that Ukraine was largely leaderless and disorganized during the early months of the war.”

According to the network, the two men have not spoken to each other since Russia invaded Ukraine.

“Klitschko and Zelenskyy had a public feud in November 2022 when the mayor criticized the president over the conditions of emergency shelters that were supposed to help residents with heat and electricity amid Russian bombings,” the network reported. “After three people were locked outside an air raid shelter and killed during a Russian attack in June, Zelenskyy ordered an audit that found only 15% of Kyiv’s 4,655 bomb shelters were suitable and only 44% were freely accessible.”

Zelenskyy is up for reelection in March 2024, however, with the country under martial law he has announced that no elections will take place in the war-torn country.

As for the state of the war with Russia,  NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview Saturday with German broadcaster ARD: “Wars develop in phases. We have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times, […] We should also be prepared for bad news.”

‘The one thing we do know is that the more we support Ukraine, the faster this war will end,” he added. “We must realize that a victory for President Putin would be a tragedy for Ukraine, but it would also be dangerous for us. It is in our own interest to make everything possible for Ukraine to win.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) predicted how the war will end during an appearance Sunday on the “The Cats Roundtable” podcast.

“We’re not gonna like the result,” he said, before adding, “The only way this war ends is in a negotiated settlement.”

“Every day that goes by while this war continues, more Ukrainians die, citizens and soldiers, more Russian conscripts die,” Johnson explained. “I take no joy in that. More of Ukraine gets destroyed. So, the sooner that they reach a negotiated settlement, the better from my standpoint.”

Tom Tillison

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