The Sakharov Prize “For Freedom of Thought” for 2022 was awarded “to the courageous people of Ukraine represented by the President, elected leaders, and civil society.” The ceremony was held in the European Parliament on 14 December, 2022.
We will never forget that Ukrainians are risking their lives for Europe.
To safeguard the values we all believe in: freedom, democracy, rule of law.
— Roberta Metsola (@EP_President) December 14, 2022
President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said in her speech that “The Ukrainian people are not just fighting a war of independence, but fighting a war of values.”
“Let today’s award serve as a reminder of our unwavering support,” Metsola said. “And let it be dedicated to all those brave Ukrainian women and men on the ground. To all those who have welcomed with open hearts into our homes. And to all those who have lost their beloved family and friends. And I know that the brave people of Ukraine will not give up. And let me assure you that neither will we. Slava Ukraini.”
President Zelenskyy also joined the ceremony via video link, stressing that if Ukraine wins now, all Europeans will win and there will never again be attempts to deprive Europe of freedom.
He also called on the European Parliament to recognize Holodomor as a genocide of Ukrainian people in the voting planned for 15 December 2022.
“Tomorrow you will consider the recognizing the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people. And I urge you to support such recognition with the maximum majority of votes in order to establish justice,” the head of state said.
Several Ukrainian public leaders were also present in the European Parliament during the award ceremony, receiving the prize. In particular, Oleksandra Matviychuk, human rights lawyer and head of the Center for Civil Liberties, who became one of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Yuliya Payevska, known as Taira, volunteer and founder of paramedical units, Melitopol mayor Ivan Fedorov. Representatives of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine Oleksandr Chekryhin and Stanislav Kulykivskyi were also present in the parliament as well as the representative of the civil resistance movement “Yellow Ribbon” Yaroslav Bozhko.