World heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko on Thursday battled with Kyiv mayor Leonid Chernovetsky during a fractious city hall meeting on Thursday, DPA reported. Klitschko, holder of the WBC belt and a leader of a market reform political party, initiated the verbal fracas by accusing Chernovetsky of ignoring the Ukrainian capital`s weakening economy, and of trying to hoodwink voters with announcements of economic stimulation programmes, not existing in fact.
"When will your management (of Kyiv) be real, and not virtual?" Klitschko asked. "When will you have a plan?"
Chernovetsky, a banking multi-millionaire, responded with a attack on Klitschko, acid even by the sometimes openly insulting terms of Ukrainian political discussion.
"All these questions that you are asking, they are slothful, and they aren`t heroic, they are the words of a whiner," Chernovetsky said.
"In all the time I have been mayor (since 2006) you and I have only met once, and that was so you could get two hectares of city land for your boxing club," the visibly incensed Kyiv mayor added.
Chernovetsky, drawing on support from Kyiv pensioners, blue collar labourers, and Christian organisations, defeated Klitschko for the Ukraine capital`s top job in snap elections in 2008.
Since then the Klitschko, in Ukraine as well known for his multiple university degrees as for his boxing victories, has led the political opposition against Chernovetsky.
The 2.03 metre Klitschko is usually soft-spoken in his political work, but in recent months his party has intensified criticism of Chernovetsky, who has among other charges accused Klitschko of disloyalty to Kyiv voters and inability to understand city finance, charges rejected by Klitschko.