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Armed with a rifle and tactical gear, Ukrainian Olympic medalist Stanislav Horuna has joined the fight against the Russian invasion.
Horuna won a bronze medal in karate last summer in the Tokyo Games and owns medals of all colors in European Championship and World Games competition. Tuesday was his 33rd birthday. He marked the occasion by asking his Instagram followers to send support to the Ukrainian army in lieu of gifts.
"Hello my friends. It is the first of March, and today is my birthday," Horuna said on an Instagram video while holding his rifle and wearing military gear. "Just in case you wanted to make me a birthday present, better send those monies as a donation to support the Ukrainian Army. And mention Ukraine in your social media.
"Thank you. Stand with Ukraine."
'We will kill every occupant who invades'
Horuna also shared video footage of what appears to be wreckage of Russian military transport and tanks in the aftermath of fighting alongside a stern message:
"We fight back. ... We will kill every occupant who invades."
Ukrainian athletes continue to join fight against Russia
The nature of the footage isn't confirmed, and it's not clear if Horuna was present when the video was taken.
Horuna isn't the first high-profile Ukrainian athlete to join the fight against the unprovoked Russian invasion that saw its sixth day of fighting on Tuesday. Boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko, a former three-division world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist who agreed to a championship fight in June, announced on Sunday that he was joining a defense battalion in a port city in southwest Ukraine near the Black Sea.
Retired former heavyweight champion boxers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have also joined the fight. Vitali, a former WBO and WBC champion who defended his belts 12 times, is now the mayor of capital city Kyiv, the primary target of the Russian invasion. He and his brother have both vowed to fight with Ukraine's Army reserves.
'I don't have another choice. I have to do that.'
The Mayor of Kyiv @Vitaliy_Klychko tells @richardgaisford that it is 'already a bloody war' and he is prepared to fight for his country. pic.twitter.com/KvoGP5f92C
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) February 24, 2022
“I don’t have another choice,” Vitali told "Good Morning Britain" last week of taking up arms against Russia. “I have to do that.”
Meanwhile, current WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has reportedly joined a defense brigade in Kyiv.
Oleksandr Usyk joined the Kyiv Territorial Defense in Ukraine to defend his country from Vladimir Putin's invasion by Russia… pic.twitter.com/UUHZy0ADVe
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) February 28, 2022
The news of his decision to join the fight on Sunday followed a Saturday Instagram post in which he pleaded with Russians: "do not fight with us."
As of Tuesday, the United Nations reports that fighting has killed at least 136 Ukrainian civilians including 13 children while leaving at least 400 civilians injured. More than 677,000 Ukrainians have fled their home country to escape the warpath.