Russia-Ukraine war: Five famous Ukrainians fighting the Russian army

From boxers to a beauty queen, celebrities are picking up arms to defend Ukraine

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Many celebrities have used their social media platforms in recent days to decry Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Some have gone further, and shown willingness to wield weaponry alongside their smartphones.

Here are five Ukrainians who have made the leap from keyboard warriors to real-life warriors.

1. Petro Poroshenko

Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has been pictured holding a Kalashnikov surrounded by militia.

He is no stranger to the Russo-Ukrainian conflict having led the country between 2014 and 2019 before he was ousted by current President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr Poroshenko is defiant in the face of Russia's invasion.

“Putin will never catch Ukraine despite the number of soldiers he has or how many missiles he has, or how many nuclear weapons he has. Ukrainian people are free people with a great future,” he has said.

2. Anastasia Lenna

In a turn of events more redolent of an action movie plot line, ex-Ukrainian beauty queen Anastasia Lena has swapped her crown for a rifle.

The 2015 Miss Grand International beauty contestant announced she had joined the Ukrainian military in a uncompromising Instagram post.

“Everyone who crosses the Ukrainian border with the intent to invade will be killed!” she wrote.

She also posted a photo of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whom she called “a true and strong leader".

3. Oleksandr Usyk

Boxing brothers Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko aren't Ukraine's only renowned pugilists to take up arms against Russia. Anthony Joshua's conqueror, Oleksandr Usyk, has returned to his homeland to join the resistance.

“Friends, we have to stop this war; all of us together,” he wrote on LinkedIn.

Speaking on a social media video he addressed Vladimir Putin directly.

“You can stop this war. Please just sit down and negotiate it with us without claims.

“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.”

Another Ukrainian boxer to enter the fray is three-weight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.

4. Kira Rudik

MP and leader of the Voice Party, Kira Rudik, has learnt to use a Kalashnikov and has vowed to “protect Ukrainian soil the same way as our men".

Ms Rudik succeeded pop star-turned-politician Svyatoslav Vakarchuk as leader of the pro-West party on March 12, 2020.

Formerly she was boss at Ring Ukraine, a home-security and smart-home company owned by Amazon.

5. Sergiy Stakhovsky

Recently retired Sergiy Stakhovsky was previously best known for his giant killing of tennis great Roger Federer on Wimbledon's Centre Court in 2013.

Helping to down the might of a Russian juggernaut would be a giant killing of a rather different order of magnitude.

“I know how to use the gun. If I'll have to, I'll have to,” he said.

Current Ukrainian tennis star Elina Svitolina isn't swapping her racket for a rifle but she is taking a stand against Russia using more peaceful means.

The world No. 15 has refused to play her Russian opponent, Anastasia Potapova, at the Monterrey Open in Mexico this week.

She took to Instagram to explain she did not blame Russian athletes but believes they should only be allowed to compete as neutrals, as recommended by the International Olympic Committee.

Elina Svitolina in action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis WTA Championships 2022. EPA

“I do not blame any of the Russian athletes. They are not responsible for the invasion of our motherland,” she wrote.

“Moreover, I wish to pay tribute to all the players, especially Russians and Belarusians, who bravely stated their position against the war.

“Their support is essential.”

Updated: March 01, 2022, 4:12 PM
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