The Head of State took part in the award ceremony in the format of a video conference, the President’s press service informs.
As noted, Chairman of the International Society Laurence Geller speaking from the press center of the Office of the Prime Minister of Great Britain (London) noted that these days there are events and phenomena that have not happened since the time of Winston Churchill 80 years ago.
"Democracy in Europe is now threatened by tyranny, and this threat is stopped by leadership and heroism. Like Winston Churchill, President Zelensky shows that tyranny must not succeed, that people must have the right to choose their own path and their own life," the President’s press service quotes Laurence Geller as saying.
According to Geller, Zelenskyy's devotion to the fundamental principles of democracy and firmness in defending his country helps Europe understand itself, and "his defense of democracy inspires us all."
Laurence Geller also praised the role of Great Britain under the leadership of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in strengthening the ability of democracy to defend itself and deter aggression.
For his part, Boris Johnson noted that Volodymyr Zelenskyy proved his leadership after the start of Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.
“As the Russians launched their lightning assault on Kyiv, you knew that you were at the top of their target list… And you could have left Kyiv, you could have said – and it would have been hard to contradict you – that the survival of the Ukrainian state required the survival of the President. But of course Volodymyr you did none of those things: you chose to stay in Kyiv, among the Ukrainian people, just as Churchill stayed in London in 1940. And when one world leader offered you a way out, you replied ‘I need ammunition, not a ride’,” Johnson said.
The British PM added: “And like Churchill you’ve understood that you are not yourself the lion, the Ukrainian people are the lion, but you have been called upon to give the roar, the roar of freedom against tyranny, good against evil, of light against darkness. And you have delivered that roar magnificently and that’s why it was such a huge stroke of good fortune that you should have been in office at this time of crisis for Ukraine and the world. And inspired by your leadership, I know not just that Ukraine can win but Ukraine will win, and when that day comes, as it will, Ukraine will rise and take its place, as a free sovereign and independent nation.”
Expressing gratitude for the award, the President of Ukraine noted that this award reflects not only his efforts, but also the heroism of tens of thousands of Ukrainian men and women who distinguished themselves in battles with the Russian aggressor.
“This award would not be possible if the entire Ukrainian people had not risen up to defend freedom from the attack of tyranny,” Zelensky stressed.
He also expressed conviction that Ukrainians and European history will always remember those who did not hesitate to come to the aid of the Ukrainian people and the idea of freedom in general. In particular, the President commended Boris Johnson's leadership.
According to the Head of State, now we are fighting not just for the land, the rights of people or the Ukrainian people, not just for freedom in Europe - we are fighting together so that no aggressor ever again considers war as a means to achieve aggressive goals.
“And perhaps for the first time in the history of mankind we are now able to show everyone in the world and for ages that democracies, united, can stop any tyranny, even if at first it seems that it has unlimited resources for aggression. But this can become a reality only if Russia loses on the battlefield in Ukraine,” Zelensky said.
In this regard, he called for continuing the supply of modern and effective weapons to Ukraine in sufficient quantities, strengthening sanctions against Russia, and involving more nations in the coalition to protect freedom, especially those against whom Russia decided to use artificial famine in the 21st century.
“The democracies of the world are capable of stopping any tyranny. We are capable of stopping any evil that threatens our freedom. Only the joint leadership of the entire free world can be enough for this. And patience should be enough. Patience on the way to victory. No one knows today how much time and effort it will take to reach it. However, the victory is worth the effort. And it will become our shared history. So outstanding that you and I will later be quoted in the same way as we are now quoting Sir Churchill,” Zelensky noted.
The award was handed over to Ambassador of Ukraine to Great Britain Vadym Prystaiko for delivery to the homeland.
Photo credit: Volodymyr Zelensky / Facebook