European leaders seek extension to nominate Zelenskyy and Ukrainian people for Nobel Peace Prize

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In a letter dated March 11 and addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 36 European leaders nominated President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize in the wake of the brutal Russian invasion of their country.

The deadline was on Jan. 31 for nominations, about a month before Russian President Vladimir Putin essentially declared war on Ukraine so an extension is being sought. The current and former leaders nominating Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people include many MEPs, former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstad, and former Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip. They are seeking an exception for Ukraine considering the circumstances, according to Euractiv.

“In light of historically unprecedented events we respectfully call upon the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to re-open and reconsider the 2022 nomination procedure for the Nobel Peace Prize,” the letter states.

“The world is shocked by the images of war coming from Ukraine. Millions of families are now living in fear, their homes and livelihoods threatened by bombardments and an invasive army. We are witness to the courage of the people of Ukraine withstanding this war waged upon them by the Russian Federation,” it continued, highlighting what Zelenskyy told Congress this week when asking for more military aid.

(Video Credit: CNBC Television)

“Brave Ukrainian men and women are fighting to preserve democracy and self-government. From the defiance democratically elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the man with tears in his eyes saying goodbye to his family to fight for his country, people all over Ukraine are rising up to resist the forces of authoritarianism. Our words of sympathy and support can hardly do justice to the sacrifices they make for the principles of human rights and peace,” the letter added.

“Right now and around the world fellow democratic citizens are all asking the same question: what can we do to support the people of Ukraine?” it asked.

“We believe that now is the time to show the people of Ukraine that the world is on their side,” the letter argued. “We therefore humbly call upon you, the Committee, to consider: Extending and thereby re-opening the nomination procedure for the Nobel Peace Prize until March 31, 2022 to allow for a Nobel Peace Prize nomination for President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine.”


“Although we are aware that this is a break with procedure, we do believe that this break is justified by the current unprecedented situation. It is our democratic duty to stand up to authoritarianism and to support a people fighting for democracy and their right to self-government,” the letter asserted. “The veneer of civilization is paper-thin, we are its guardians and we can never rest.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has not answered on whether it will extend the deadline for the special nomination or not.

Others nominated for the prize include NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom and former White House adviser Jared Kushner. According to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, there are 343 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022, 251 are individuals, and 92 are organizations.


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