As the world condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one photo of a boxing champion reveals just how drastic things have become.
Ukrainian boxing superstar Vasiliy Lomachenko has been pictured carrying an M16 assault rifle after allegedly enlisting in the “Territorial Defence of his hometown”.
Ukrainian media outlets including Hromadske and Ukrinform have reported the three-division champion has joined the Belgorod-Dniester Terror Defence Battalion in the face of Russia’s invasion.
The 34-year-old is pictured carrying a weapon and wearing camouflage army fatigues and the photo, which appeared on an official Instagram page for the boxer on Monday, quickly went viral across the internet.
One of the best pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, The Sun reports Lomachenko is understood to be joining the resistance near the region of Odessa in the south of the country.
Two days ago he posted on Instagram a message calling for prayers for “the peace of the whole world”.
He becomes the latest boxer to take up the fight amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Heavyweight legend Vitali Klitschko, 50, the current Mayor of Kyiv, revealed he will serve Ukraine in war.
His brother Wladimir, 45, has also signed up as a reserve for the territorial forces, defending the capital city.
The famous boxing brothers had called upon the world to “support Ukraine” in the face of Russian aggression.
In a clip they shared on social media, Wladimir says: “I’m calling to all international partners to observe this strategy that is happening nowadays in Ukraine and this senseless war which is not going to have any winners, but losers.
“I just want to tell you we must stay united against this Russian aggression.
“Don’t let it continue happening in Ukraine, don’t let it happen in Europe and eventually in the world.
“United we are strong. Support Ukraine. Thank you.”
Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, 35, a close friend of Lomachenko’s, said: “I’d like to speak to the people of Russia.
“If we consider ourselves as brothers, orthodox ones. Do not let your children to set out to our country, do not fight with us.
“Also I’m addressing this to the President Vladimir Putin. 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.”
This article first appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission