“It is the love, the love for my city, my home, my family, my neighbours, my daughter that has brought me here today, that I took this initiative and am now taking part in this territorial defence.”

Vitali Klitschko insisted that while a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Russia is undoubtedly preferred, he is ready to fight to defend his country.

“If not, we have to prepare to take weapons in our hands, and defend the country,” he said.

The 50-year-old declared Ukraine must be prepared ‘for any scenario’ as there were no immediate signs of tensions being quashed, despite diplomatic talks between the two nations.