Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko: From the boxing ring to Ukraine’s war

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In an era when the news agenda moves quickly and coverage of conflicts decreases after the initial weeks, Klitschko’s platform helps him keep the war on the radar.

While Vatali often isn’t able leave the city, Wladimir regularly travels abroad to drum up support – something that has given the younger Klitschko brother a new perspective.

“Before February 24th, I thought I knew myself, but I was wrong,” Wladimir says in the film, referring to the start of the war in 2022.

“What you have achieved in your life, awards, medals, is so unimportant. Now the only question is, what can I do for Ukraine?”

Unlike his brother, he sees himself as an activist rather than a politician, helping to deliver humanitarian and military help for the country.

Their close bond is evident throughout the film. “I was born, he was there,” notes Vladimir. “I don’t even know the time without him.”

“They’re incredibly close,” Macdonald agrees. “But they’re very different. Vitali, when you first meet him, seems quite serious and stern, a disciplinarian. But the more time you spend with him, you realise that he’s got an incredible brain, and is also very warm and lovely.

“Whereas Wladimir is a, I don’t want to say party boy, but on first meeting he’s incredibly friendly and open and chatty and wants to have a good time. And also, I’ve never seen a bond like this where they ask each other about everything and help each other out.”

The film-maker says it took “quite a few months” to chip away at Vitali’s “granite exterior”, but the longer they spent filming, the more he opened up.

It’s clear from the film that Vitali is an instinctive fighter and feels an affinity with those on the front line. “If I wasn’t mayor, it would be me in the place,” he says.


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