Time Magazine Names Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Person of the Year Despite Controversy
By Worthy News’ George Whitten and Stefan J. Bos
KYIV/WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – Time Magazine has chosen Ukraine’s wartime President Volodymyr Zelensky as its Person of the Year despite doubts over his democratic credentials.
The award goes to an event or person deemed to have had the most influence on global events over the past 12 months. Other finalists included protesters in Iran, China’s leader Xi Jinping, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, Volodymyr Zelensky galvanized the world in a way we haven’t seen in decades,” Time wrote.
Calling Zelensky’s decision to remain in Kyiv and rally his country amid the ongoing war “fateful,” Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said this year’s decision was “the most clear-cut in memory.”
U.S. officials confirmed that Zelensky rejected an offer from the American government to evacuate Kyiv, the capital. He reportedly said that “the fight is here” and that he needed anti-tank ammunition, “not a ride.”
Yet critics say he has banned opposition parties, arrested his political opponents, and sent soldiers into churches. Zelensky confirmed that the Ukrainian government will draw up a law prohibiting churches affiliated with Russia under moves he described as needed to prevent Moscow from being able to “weaken Ukraine from within.”
In a move condemned in Moscow, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council told the government last week to draft the law following a series of raids on parishes that Kyiv says could be taking orders from Moscow as Russia wages war on Ukraine.
“We have to create conditions where no actors dependent on the aggressor state (Russia) will have an opportunity to manipulate Ukrainians and weaken Ukraine from within,” Zelensky said in his nightly address to the nation. “We will never allow anyone to build an empire inside the Ukrainian soul,” he added.
A spokesperson for the church, Metropolitan Kliment, said his organization “has always acted within the framework of Ukrainian law.”
“Therefore, the state of Ukraine does not have any legal grounds to put pressure on or repress our believers,” he said.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) also continued its raids on Friday, saying it searched at least five parishes belonging to a branch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which until May was subordinated to the Russian Orthodox Church.
It also served a notice of suspicion to a former diocese head for allegedly coordinating a pro-Moscow information campaign with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Zelensky faces the prospect of leading his nation through a long, open-ended, armed conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying his army could be fighting in Ukraine for a long time.
NO MORE MOBILIZATION?
However, Putin made clear he saw no sense in expanding a call-up of 300,000 reservists from September and October despite serious Russian battlefield setbacks.
Earlier, Russia’s ally Belarus said it was moving troops and military hardware to counteract what it called a threat of terrorism. Military observers suggested that Moscow may be pressing Minsk to open a new front in Ukraine as the war escalates.
In Ukraine, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko warned of an “apocalypse” scenario without power, running water, or heat in the Ukrainian capital this winter if Russian air strikes on infrastructure continue. He said there was no need for residents to evacuate now, though they should be ready to do so.
Authorities were working to repair the latest damage to the power grid inflicted by a barrage of Russian missile strikes on Monday, hours after alleged Ukrainian drone strikes on two air bases deep inside Russia.
Ukraine did not directly claim responsibility for the drone strikes but celebrated the apparent demonstration of newfound capability to hit Russian defenses.
The United States made clear to Ukraine its concerns about any escalation of the war with Russia and did not encourage it to strike the two air bases, the White House’s national security spokesman told the media.
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