Via AP news wire
Wed, December 7, 2022 at 9:06 AM·3 min read
In this article:
- Volodymyr ZelenskySixth and current President of Ukraine
- Vladimir PutinPresident of Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been named Time Magazine’s ‘person of the year’, awarding him the accolade “for proving that courage can be as contagious as fear.”
Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said the choice of Mr Zelensky — alongside “the spirit of Ukraine” — was “the most clear-cut in memory.”
“Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, the world marched to Volodymyr Zelensky’s beat in 2022,” he said.
A comedian-turned-politician who was elected to lead Ukraine in 2019, Mr Zelensky has inspired his country’s resistance since Russia’s invasion on 24 February and marshaled international support.
Mr Felsenthal said Mr Zelensky’s decision when the war started “not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful.”
“For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defense of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy — and of peace — Volodymyr Zelensky and the spirit of Ukraine are TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year,” he added.
The magazine also highlighted people said to embody the spirit of Ukraine.
They include engineer Oleg Kutkov, who helped keep Ukraine connected; Olga Rudenko, editor of the Kyiv Independent; and British combat surgeon David Nott.
Time’s annual selection has often sparked debate since it began in 1927.
The 2021 person of the year was Elon Musk, the tech, telecoms and space magnate who recently bought Twitter.
The accolade comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin said his army could be fighting in Ukraine for a long time, but he saw “no sense” in mobilising additional soldiers at this point.
“As for the duration of the special military operation, well, of course, this can be a long process,” Mr Putin said, using his preferred term for Russia’s invasion.
In a televised meeting of his Human Rights Council that was dominated by the war, Mr Putin said Russians would “defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal”, asserting that Russia was seen in the West as “a second-class country that has no right to exist at all”.
He said the risk of nuclear war was growing – the latest in a series of such warnings – but that Russia saw its arsenal as a means to retaliate, not to strike first.
“We haven’t gone mad, we realise what nuclear weapons are,” Mr Putin said. “We have these means in more advanced and modern form than any other nuclear country … But we aren’t about to run around the world brandishing this weapon like a razor.”
He said there was no reason for a second mobilisation at this point, after a call-up of at least 300,000 reservists in September and October.
Mr Putin said 150,000 of these were deployed in Ukraine: 77,000 in combat units and the others in defensive functions. The remaining 150,000 were still at training centres.
“Under these conditions, talk about any additional mobilisation measures simply makes no sense,” he said.
Mr Putin has rarely discussed the likely duration of the war, although he boasted in July that Russia was just getting started.