Strasbourg, France, Oct 19 (EFE).- The EU Parliament on Wednesday awarded its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Ukrainian people, represented by president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“This award is for those Ukrainians fighting on the ground,” the parliament’s president Roberta Metsola said Wednesday.
“For those who have been forced to flee. For those who have lost relatives and friends. For all those who stand up and fight for what they believe in. I know that the brave people of Ukraine will not give up and neither will we.”
The highest EU prize in human rights highlighted the role of Zelenskyy as well as individuals, civil initiatives and state and public institutions in resisting Russia’s invasion.
These included Ukraine’s emergency services; Yulia Pajevska, who founded the Angels of Taira medical unit; Oleksandra Matviychuk, a human rights activist whose platform Center for Civil Liberties this year won the Nobel Peace Prize; the Yellow Ribbon Civil Resistance Movement and Ivan Fedorov, mayor of the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol.
“Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine is inflicting enormous costs on the Ukrainian people,” the parliament said in a statement.
The 50,000-euro prize is to be awarded in Strasbourg in December.
It is the third consecutive year that the Sakharov Prize was given to an individual or entity linked in some form to opposing the Russian or Belarusian regimes.
The EU award was in 2020 granted to the Belarusian opposition movement following huge but ultimately unsuccessful protests in the Eastern European nation. The following year, it was given to jailed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny, one of Vladimir Putin’s harshest critics. EFE