Ukraine must keep fighting, says Nobel Peace Prize winner


Human rights defenders from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus rewarded


The ceremony takes place in Oslo on Saturday

By Gwladys Fouché and Nerijus Adomaitis

OSLO, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Ukraine must continue to fight Russian troops, the head of a Ukrainian rights group that won the Nobel Peace Prize said on Friday, adding that any attempt to talks to end the war would be interpreted by Russia. as a sign of weakness.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that Moscow should eventually reach agreements regarding Ukraine. Kyiv has previously said it has not ruled out negotiating with Russia, but not with Putin as a leader.

The Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, Russian rights group Memorial and imprisoned Belarusian activist Ales Byalyatski have won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize amid Europe’s worst conflict since World War II.

Asked whether Ukraine and the West should start talks with Putin to end the war, the head of the Ukrainian rights group said Kyiv “would never leave our people for torture and death in the occupied territories”.

“The West must therefore help Ukraine to resist and liberate all temporarily occupied territories, including Crimea,” Oleksandra Matviichuk told a press conference in Oslo. The prize giving will take place on Saturday.

“The logic of authoritarian leaders is very understandable: they see any attempt (at) dialogue as a sign of weakness.”

Founded in 2007, the group aims to document every war crime committed across Ukraine.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the first since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, recognizes civil society’s efforts to stand up against authoritarian states and human rights abuses , said the Norwegian Nobel committee.

The Russian laureate, Memorial, said Ukraine was not only fighting for its independence but also for the survival of a peaceful international order.

“He is fighting for international law. He is fighting for our common peaceful future,” Yan Rachinsky, chairman of the Memorial’s international board, said at the same press conference.

“The choice facing the international community (…) is between today’s unpleasant situation and tomorrow’s disaster.”

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

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