The mayor of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv urged the world on Tuesday to implement more sanctions against Russia and offer his country humanitarian help, weapons, and political support, accusing Moscow of "genocide" in Ukraine.
"In our hometown Kyiv, Russian rocket attacks destroyed over 100 apartment buildings. More than 100 civilians have died, and more than 300 are in hospital in a critical condition," Vitali Klitschko told the Second Forum of Mayors 2022 organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe
Accusing Russia of "aggression" and conducting "a war against civilians," Klitschko said not even children have been spared.
Klitschko said that the day before, he had viewed shocking scenes in Bucha, a dormitory town of Kyiv, where – he claimed – Russians had shot 300 civilians. Their bodies were dumped in the streets or left in mass graves.
He said the attacks went back to 2014, citing the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines plane with Russian missiles over eastern Ukraine.
"This is genocide. This is a war against civilians. This war is against our country. The main goal is to destroy the country. This war doesn't have rules," said Klitschko, noting he leads the biggest city in "east Europe."
The mayor said thousands of Ukrainian civilians were killed by "Russian aggression." He added that in the besieged city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine thousands are trapped and 5,000 civilians have been killed.
He said that the war is bad for Ukraine and also for Russia, with 20,000 Russian troops having perished in the fighting that began on Feb. 24.
Klitschko said that Ukraine merely wants to defend its people and its freedom and does not intend to expand into other countries, noting that it had given up being a nuclear power in 1994.
"We have to defend our country," said the mayor.
The mayor said "Russian propaganda" says "it's about a war against nationalists, fascists, and radicals."
This, he said, is a lie.
Rebuild the Russian empire
"Clearly, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has said the idea is to rebuild the Russian Empire to rebuild the Soviet Union. And the main goal of the Russians is to take Ukraine into the influence of the Russian Federation and have total control over the whole country," said Klitschko.
"The main weapons right now for the Russians is not tanks; it's not the planes. The main weapons right now are the media," he said, referring to propaganda from the country.
Klitschko said: "It's not a secret ... Russia Today (Russian state TV channel RT) has a budget much bigger than that of our capital city of Ukraine, more than €2 billion ($2.2 billion)."
The mayor urged countries to "stop commercial communication with Russia because every euro, every cent, they receive from Russians "or what you send to Russia has "the blood of Ukrainians on it."
After seeing "horrible pictures and images from Ukraine" carried out by Russian forces on civilians, Klitschko urged the world not to invest money that enables Moscow's army to act in the way it has.