Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the spirit of Ukraine have been chosen as Time’s 2022 Person of the Year, the outlet announced Wednesday morning.
Many have hailed Zelenskyy as a hero and symbol of hope this year – notably since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. The 44-year-old president has been applauded for leading and defending his country on the front lines throughout the war.
In the cover photo, Zelenskyy is depicted surrounded by the people of his country, as well as Ukrainian flags, sunflowers (the country’s national flower) and more.
“Zelensky’s success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious,” Time reporter Simon Shuster writes in an article announcing the decision, describing Zelenskyy’s leadership throughout the war and his rise to the world stage.
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In a column breaking down this year’s Person of the Year selection, Time’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal also notes that “the spirit of Ukraine was embodied by countless individuals inside and outside the country” – pointing to medics on the frontlines, those helping refugees, journalists reporting on the war and more.
The world continues to watch Russia and Ukraine as the war unfolds.
This week, Zelenskyy marked Ukraine’s Armed Forces Day by visiting with troops Tuesday in the eastern Donetsk region near the front lines. He lauded the troops for their crucial role in the war and vowed to drive the Russians out of the country.
“Everyone sees your strength and your skill. … I’m grateful to your parents. They raised real heroes,” Zelenskyy said in a video address from the city of Sloviansk, a key Ukrainian stronghold in the east.
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In addition to the Person of the Year title, Time honored the women of Iran as the Heroes of the Year, Michelle Yeoh as the Icon of the Year, Aaron Judge as the Athlete of the Year and Blackpink as the Entertainer of the Year.
Contributing: The Associated Press. John Bacon and Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY