Boxing Legend Brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitcschko Vow to Fight on Front Lines for Ukraine

Vitali Klitcschko has served as the mayor of Ukraine's capital Kyiv since 2014

Vitali and Wladimir Klitcschko are ready to take a stand.

The brothers, who are both former professional boxers, announced Thursday that they are ready to take up arms following Russia's invasion of their home country Ukraine.

Vitali, 50 — who has been the mayor of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv since 2014 — said he was ready to fight, in conversation with ITV's Good Morning Britain.

"It's already a bloody war," Vitali said during a broadcast Thursday. "... I don't have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight."

"I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people," he added.

Vitali Klitschko; Wladimir Klitschko
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Russia began an invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, according to the Ukraine government, with forces moving from the north, east and south.

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The attack is still-evolving, but explosions and airstrikes have been reported, with threats mounting against the capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people. Numerous residents have been seen trying to flee. "We are facing a war and horror. What could be worse?" one 64-year-old woman living in Kyiv told the Associated Press.

President Vladimir Putin's aggression toward Ukraine has been widely condemned by the international community, including with economic sanctions and NATO troops massing in the region. Putin, 69, insists Ukraine has historic ties to Russia and he is acting in the interest of so-called "peacekeeping."

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," President Joe Biden said as the invasion appeared to begin in force this week.

Vitali Klitschko; Wladimir Klitschko
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Wladimir, 45, meanwhile, enlisted in Ukraine's reserve army earlier this month, per ESPN. He wrote in a post shared on LinkedIn Thursday that he loves his country and is ready to fight for it.

"The Ukrainian people are strong. And it will remain true to itself in this terrible ordeal. A people longing for sovereignty and peace. A people who consider the Russian people their brothers," he wrote in his post.

"It knows that they basically do not want this war," the athlete continued. "The Ukrainian people have chosen democracy."

Added Wladimir: "But: Democracy is a fragile regime. Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone. Basically, there is no democracy without democrats."

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Following news of the brother's plans to fight, Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his admiration for the pair in a tweet late on Thursday evening.

"Vitali and Wladimir ... I am thinking of you, my friends," he wrote. "You were my heroes in the ring and you're my heroes now."

The actor and former governor of California, 74, added in another tweet that he stands with the people of Ukraine, writing, "I share your grief and your hope for peace. You inspire me with your bravery and your humanity in the face of this nightmare. God bless you."

Vitali and Wladimir are among some of the athletes from Ukraine who have spoken out about the tragedy facing the country, the New York Post reported.

Olympic gold medalist Vasiliy Lomachenko, heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk and basketball players Alex Len and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk have all spoken out, per the outlet.

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.

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