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'Ukrainians don’t want to live in [a] police country,' says boxer Klitschko

December 3rd, 2013
02:58 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Champion heavyweight boxer and Ukraine’s foremost opposition leader Vitali Klitschko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that “Ukraine is [the] most corrupt country in Europe.”

Large crowds gathered yet again in Ukraine on Tuesday calling for the resignation of their government.

Earlier in the day, the opposition lost a no-confidence vote in parliament in an attempt to topple the government.

“Ukrainians don’t want to live in [a] police country,” Klitschko said from a noisy Independence Square in Kiev. Somebody must take responsibility for police abuse, he told Amanpour.

“We call to the people: ‘If you want to live with Europeans…we have to come into the street and make peaceful demonstration against the government.’”

Amanpour pressed Klitschko on what the opposition’s plans were for the coming days.

“The strategy [is] to show for government our will. And if a couple of hundred thousand people are coming [then the] government can’t say no, we [won’t] listen to you.”

“We are ready to talk,” he said, but insisted that someone in the government must take “responsibility” for abuses.

Late last month, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with the European Union, many say under heavy pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“We understand that the influence is very big from Russia,” Klitschko said, but that influence is on Ukraine’s president, not its people.

“And we hope [President Yanukovich] defends the interest of the people and not interest of neighbor countries.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Ukraine
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Salt

    Hmm Klitschko obviously wasn't prepared for this interview. He couldn't answer a single specific question. Opposition also have to do their homework and think about the consequences what to do after once the demonstrations are over.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • kudson

      klitschko is washed out
      too many punches to the head
      he was in a sport controlled by organised crime
      where every event is fixed
      US always finds monkeys like him
      to do the talking

      December 3, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Reply
      • tadpole

        You have him confused with his brother.

        December 4, 2013 at 6:15 am |
      • alex

        Instead of bashing on Klitschko and Ukraine, maybe you should read up on the matter at hand. Regardless of whether he is washed up or not, he is doing the country a service by bringing some American attention to the matter and by serving as a recognizable face for an important movement.

        December 6, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  2. Bjorg

    Not much of an IQ there. Well perhaps he could always act as Yulia's bodyguard.

    December 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  3. Jay

    He has Dual US/UKR citizenship. He does not have to live in Ukraine. make your Choice, Jerk

    December 3, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • Taz

      I have dual passport too ukr/aus. If Ukraine was a free country do you think i would be in need of other passport? You have no idea what you are talking about Jay. He is absolutely right about corruption. Have you lived in Ukraine? Where you born there and grew up? You guys are siting in your living rooms and getting educated from tv and internet but not from the reality.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm | Reply
      • kudson

        you live in a country where illegal kidnapping , torture, murder, spying ,lying
        droning women and children is the norm

        December 3, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • Natasha

      First, there is no such thing as dual citizenship in Ukraine. Second, Klitschko has German citizenship, not Ukrainian one.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Reply
      • Olim

        How can a foreigner become an leader of a political party? A German citizen playing a role of opposition leader in Ukraine? OMG. Only god can save this country.

        December 4, 2013 at 2:18 am |
      • Taras

        Another lie. https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BXQQyf9CYAAZHEe.jpg:large

        December 4, 2013 at 8:22 am |
  4. H. B.

    If Ukraine joins the EU, it will have allies to help resist the pressure from Moscow. Putin is trying to "reassemble" the old U.S.S.R. as much as he possibly can. And the world isn't likely to be cheering that. It had already had a bellyful the last time around.

    Russia has ALWAYS been acquisitive. That's how they started the Soviet Union last time. Tell Putin that's a dead dog and dead dogs don't hunt.

    Funny how Russia and some other countries keep calling the U.S. "imperialist." We conquered both Afghanistan AND Iraq, and gave the countries BACK. I don't think even the thought of doing something like that is in Mr. Putin's playbook.

    Maybe giving those countries back to their people was a bad idea, considering how the populations behave these days. But can you IMAGINE how we'd be dealing with two nations full of Isl-amic fanatics as actual CITIZENS of the U.S.? Egad. How do you tell a Mus-lim in either country that it's BAD to kill people of the other sect, or to splash acid in the faces of little schoolgirls?

    The best thing we did in either country was to get out as fast as could practically be done. And we're still stuck far too much in Afghanistan. I know the reasons, but I still hope we can see them in our rear-view mirrors SOON.

    Hey, maybe Putin would like to try taking them on? It might keep him busy enough to leave the Ukraine alone for a few months. After all, he does love Mus-lims. Doesn't he? It'd be a double redux of Chechnya. Whee.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  5. J

    If you want heavy weight corruption and black mail then all the Ukrainian people have to do is sign over their sovereignty to the EU and become Washington's footstool.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  6. Richard

    I am with the Ukrainians. The president is obviously under the pressure from Vladimir Putin, the cruel and wily president of Russia.
    Down with the tyrrany.

    December 4, 2013 at 5:09 am | Reply
  7. Maxym

    Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/emaidanua . About Ukraine and Euromaidan in English there

    December 4, 2013 at 5:16 am | Reply
  8. Dimmus

    'Ukrainians don’t want to live in [a] police country,' says boxer Klitschko
    It is just a slogan and shows how people are purposefully moved from real discussion. Agreement with Europe is not a selection of police country or not police country. Agreement includes many things which are difficult for Ukraine to do as economical consequences for example. Yanukovich and government say that they continue to work on agreement with Europe, but that they wait for better conditions from EU side.

    December 4, 2013 at 5:18 am | Reply
    • OD

      This has moved far from Ukrainian people wanting to join the EU. The reason why over a million of people came out on the streets of Kiev on Sunday is because innocent people got beaten up by special forces for peacefully protesting on the main square. This was the last drop, not the EU deal.

      December 4, 2013 at 7:37 am | Reply
      • Dimmus

        "The reason why over a million of people came out on the streets of Kiev on Sunday is because innocent people got beaten up by special forces for peacefully protesting on the main square."
        1) Protests are not so peacefull.
        2) In US or EU protesters are also beaten.
        3) People are on streets not because of this.

        December 4, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Taras

      "How can one corrupt country lead another one out of corruption ? How can one inefficient economy help another to become more efficient? And how can one politically backward country, a semi-autocracy, advance another toward democracy and the rule of law?" – Guardian editorial. And those words are absolutely correct. Russia is trying to pull out all the stops now to incite violence in Ukraine. Already in Evpatoria they burned down a Ukrainian Orthodox church because it was not part of the Moscow Patriarchate. All of the violence in Kyiv is being caused by paid-for thugs bought by the Yanukovich administration to try and draw the people into a situation where he can declare an emergency and bring in the troops. The people are aware of this and will not be distracted from the goal of a peaceful Ukraine freed from Moscow's manipulations and a mafioso government.

      December 4, 2013 at 8:29 am | Reply
      • Dimmus

        "All of the violence in Kyiv is being caused by paid-for thugs bought by the Yanukovich administration..."
        No, sure not, these people were unambiguously aliens.

        December 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  9. Maryann

    Many young people are missing after police attack, most probably are dead (some priests saw dead people were taken away) and will not be found. Police attacked violently even girls...

    December 4, 2013 at 5:44 am | Reply
  10. Maryann

    Random men who were taken by Berkut near Presidential Administration on December 1st were detained for 2 months. Korchynskyi who was driving the excavator and gave orders to provocateurs got away with it.

    December 4, 2013 at 5:53 am | Reply
    • Taras

      http://censor.net.ua/video_news/262193/korchinskogo_i_traktor_soprovojdal_na_bankovuyu_berkut_video

      The tractor, by all evidence, was being driven by Berkut police themselves.

      December 4, 2013 at 9:37 am | Reply
  11. Snowden

    Ukrainians WILL live at Police country.
    Question is only – NSA-policed or FSB-policed.
    But as of now it looks NOONE WISH to pay for Ukraine...that is issue.
    Neither EU nor Russia. Whoever will be at power in Ukraine should solve THIS issue FIRST.

    December 4, 2013 at 7:02 am | Reply
  12. Arnold Lockshin

    The overaged boxer is wrong again. Ukraine cannot be "the most corrupt". That honor belongs to the United States, where the central bank – The Fed – is a privately owned corporation in the monopoly possession of the "too-big-to-fail" banks. The Fed doles out trillions of dollars to its owners, while, for instance. the retired workers of Detroit are seeing their pensions nearly disappear.
    The European Central Bank acts in the same manner.To sell out Ukraine to crisis-ridden Europe is a cruel joke.
    Go back to boxing, Mr. Has-Been.
    Arnold Lockshin, political exile from the United States

    December 4, 2013 at 7:13 am | Reply
    • dimeburn

      You should learn geography before you post this drivel. He said "Ukraine is the most corrupt country in Europe." The US isn't in Europe! Go take your nonsense elsewhere, I think there is a new Miley Cyrus article calling your name.

      December 4, 2013 at 10:54 am | Reply
  13. Bohdan

    In 2004 Ukrainian civil society was born
    In 2013 it matured
    In 2015 it will take over

    December 4, 2013 at 8:07 am | Reply
  14. Halyna

    European integration is a necessary next step for Ukraine. Every Ukrainian despite the age cares about Ukraine's better future and understands that to make this change happen Ukraine must cut ties with its Soviet past. It is necessary for the West to openly support to Ukrainians (as Poland does), so Ukrainians know that other nations care and can conitnue opposition and protests so current government hears the voice of its people. And lets focus on where Ukraine wants to be 10 years from now and take necessary steps to get there instead of focusing on hating those those who don't want to lose their interests in Ukraine.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
  15. alex

    The people commenting about Ukraine being hopeless and an all around awful place are very obviously ignorant. 90% of what Americans know about this country and its history is inaccurate. The Ukrainian people have been bullied by Russia well before the USSR, and unfortunately the current president is essentially handing Ukraine to Putin.

    December 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Reply
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