Ukrainian Boxers, Model, Hip-Hop Star Join Fight Against Russia

A host of Ukrainian celebrities are stepping away from their glamorous lives to join the fight on the ground against Vladimir Putin's invading Russian troops.

Peace was last week disrupted in the Eastern European nation, with Russian tanks seen rolling into the outskirts of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, as the conflict escalates.

And local Ukrainian stars who have made their names in boxing and hip-hop—as well as a former beauty queen—are taking their patriotism to the battlefield.

Anastasiia Lenna, who represented Ukraine in the Miss Grand International beauty contest in 2015, took to her Instagram account in the days ahead of the invasion to share photos of herself wearing military fatigues as she held an assault rifle.

Captioning the image, the Kyiv-based model and TV personality showed her allegiance with the hashtags "#standwithukraine" and "#handsoffukraine."

On Sunday, Lenna also showed video footage of herself at a shooting range, where she fired an assault rifle at targets.

She captioned the video on Instagram Stories: "Training. The invaders will die on our land! All world see this! Wait and see what will happen."

"Anyone who wants to join the defence of security in Europe, the world can come and stand side by side with Ukrainians against the invaders of the [21st] century," Lenna said. "Ask your embassy."

Andriy Khlyvnyuk, frontman of local hip-hop and rock band BoomBox, has been shown in a video circulated on Twitter sporting military gear and bearing a firearm while singing a rousing melody. The clip has been viewed 950,000 times.

In an interview with Euronews, Khlyvnyuk revealed that he drove his children out of Kyiv on Thursday, the day that the full-scale invasion of Ukraine started.

"I'll take my kids to a safe house, to granny's. And then I'll return to follow the instructions of the government and if it's needed I'll take my gun and go fight for my country," he said.

The musician, whose band's videos have amassed 100 million views on YouTube, said: "They bombed us. But what I hear now is complete support from everywhere, from everyone who knows me and listens to my music."

Khlyvnyuk, who has refused to play gigs in Russia since it annexed Crimea in 2014, added that all of his friends are leaving their children in safe places as they prepare to fight alongside Ukraine's army.

"Musicians are peacemakers," he said, " [but] now it's not time for playing guitars. It's time to take the rifles."

Three-division boxing champ Vasiliy Lomachenko was also shown in full military uniform in a post that was shared on his brand's Instagram account on Sunday.

"The Belgorod-Dnestrovsky Territorial Defense Battalion has been formed and armed," read the caption. "In the territorial defense, boxer Vasily Lomachenko."

While he is ready to fight for his country, Lomachenko previously shared a post hoping for peace between Russia and Ukraine.

Former heavyweight boxers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are also willing take up arms to fight in the war following Russia's invasion of their home country.

Vitali Klitschko, who has served as the Mayor of Kyiv since 2014, was asked during an interview with U.K. TV show Good Morning Britain whether he and his brother intend to join the fight.

"It's already a bloody war," the sportsman-turned-politician responded. "I don't have another choice, I have to do that. I'll be fighting."

Two-time world heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko said in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: "Putin makes it clear that he wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people.

"Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us. That's it, blood will mix with tears. We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy."

Also on Thursday, the brothers appeared together in a video appeal, in which they spoke out against the "senseless war."

"I'm calling to all international partners to observe this tragedy that is happening nowadays in Ukraine," Wladimir Klitschko said. "And this senseless war that is not going to have any winners, but losers.

"I just want to tell you we must stay united against this aggression, against 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."

Vitali Klitschko on Sunday said that the capital was "at the border of a humanitarian catastrophe," though he praised Ukrainians' resilience.

He said: "We are strong. Every Ukrainian is proud to be independent, proud to be Ukrainian and we are proud to have our own country."

Current world heavyweight boxing champ, Oleksandr Usyk, was in London in the days leading up to the invasion but returned home to Ukraine on Thursday.

In an Instagram post shared on Saturday, he 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. NO WAR !!!"

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Ukrainian celebrities take up arms against Russia
A host of Ukrainian celebrities have taken up arms to fight on their country's behalf against Russia's invasion. Pictured are (clockwise from top left): boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko, model and TV personality Anastasiia Lenna and BoomBox singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk. Instagram/Twitter