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Estonia’s Parliament receives highest UWC award

#UWC news
October 25,2023 833
Estonia’s Parliament receives highest UWC award

The Ukranian World Congress honored the Parliament of Estonia with the organization’s highest award – St. Volodymyr the Great Medal. The country’s highest legislative body received a commemorative sign for a significant contribution to the development of the diaspora and/or Ukraine.

Vira Konyk, the Head of the Congress of Ukrainians of Estonia, submitted the candidacy to the Parliament for consideration by the UWC Board of Directors. 

“This is a unique case when the UWC awards a collective body (as a rule, natural persons are awarded). The 12th Congress of the UWC which took place on October 22, with an absolute majority of votes supported awarding the Estonian Parliament as a sign of gratitude for recognizing the Holodomor, the first in the world in 1932-1933 in Ukraine, as a genocide of the Ukrainian people. I am grateful to the global Ukrainian community for supporting my proposal,” Vira Konyk wrote.

The Parliament of Estonia systematically supports Ukraine. Back in 1993, Estonia was the first country to recognize the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine as a genocide of Ukrainians. Tallinn condemned the crime of extermination of Ukrainians by starvation by the Stalinist Soviet Union.

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Estonia has only increased aid to Ukrainians. On the morning of February 24, more than 30,000 people – representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora and Estonia residents–took to Tallinn’s streets. This rally became the largest in the country in the last 30 years.

Estonia’s support in other aspects is also record high. The country’s government was one of the first to support Ukraine in granting the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union. As of January 2023, military aid to Ukraine has grown to 370 million euros, which is slightly more than 1% of Estonia’s gross domestic product.

The Parliament of Estonia was one of the first to condemn the annexation of Crimea and support the territorial integrity of Ukraine in 2014. It approved nine resolutions in support of Ukraine, in particular in 2022-2023, regarding the war crimes and genocide of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, recognition of the Russian regime as a terrorist, and support for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Estonia is the initiator of creating an international special tribunal under the auspices of the UN General Assembly to consider the crime of aggression committed by the leadership of the Russian Federation. In addition, many important documents in support of Ukraine were approved by the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Estonia is one of the leading countries in terms of aid to Ukraine in terms of GDP. As for accepting displaced people from Ukraine, it is the first in the world: if compared with the population, the share of Ukrainian migrants is 5.6 percent of all residents of Estonia. Ukrainian refugees receive significant assistance in Estonia and can stay there even if their visa or temporary residence permit expires. Also, Tallinn systematically transfers humanitarian aid packages to Kyiv.

“Since the beginning of the war, Estonia has demonstrated by its actions that it adheres to principles and sincerely supports Ukraine on the way to victory,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

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