Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Klitschko seeks Ukraine presidency

Chairman of the Ukrainian opposition party Udar (Punch) and WBC Heavyweight Champion boxer Vitali Klitschko, speaks to lawmakers in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. Klichko announced Thursday that he would run for President in 2015. The words emblazoned on the shirts read, 'Ukraine is Europe'.(AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Vitali Klitschko, a heavyweight boxing champion and top Ukrainian opposition leader, says he will run for the ex-Soviet nation's presidency in 2015.

The 42-year-old was elected to parliament last autumn as the head of his pro-Western party Udar ("Punch"). Since then, Klitschko, the reigning WBC heavyweight champion, has campaigned against what he calls authoritarian moves by President Viktor Yanukovych.

He particularly criticszed the jailing of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, which was seen as politically motivated by the West.

Klitschko announced his widely expected presidential bid on Thursday in response to efforts by pro-government forces to pass a bill that could prevent him from running because he has permanent residency status in Germany.

He vowed that he "will not be frightened or stopped by this."

AP

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