The European Parliament on Wednesday, October 19, awarded the people of Ukraine its annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to honor their fight against Russia’s invasion.
“They are standing up for what they believe in. Fighting for our values. Protecting democracy, freedom and rule of law. Risking their lives for us,” European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said when she announced the winner.
“There is no one more deserving of this prize,” she said.
The award comes with prize money of 50,000 euros ($49,100), which will be distributed to representatives of Ukrainian civil society.
“Now Ukraine is in the center of the world’s attention. Ukraine deserves this prize because it sets” an example of what a democratic society should be, Tetiana Trofymchuk, a 26-year-old musician, told Reuters in Kyiv.
The prize, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, has been awarded annually since 1988 to individuals and organizations defending human rights and fundamental freedoms.
“(The prize) seems and sounds to me rather superficial, but it is nice of them to give it to us. It is yet another reason to speak about Ukraine and its achievements. Great,” said Svitlana, a 36-year-old businesswoman who declined to give her last name.
Last year the award was given to jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny for his efforts to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grip on power.
Other past winners include South African President Nelson Mandela, Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai and the democratic opposition of Belarus. – Rappler.com