French colleagues honored the special correspondent of “1+1 media Ukraine” Andriy Tzaplienko, awarding him the honorary Albert Londres prize, which in France is considered an analogue of the Pulitzer Prize.
The jury of the Albert Londres Award recognized the journalist, to show continued solidarity with the work journalists are doing at war in their country. Every day they film their reports, documenting war crimes for future justice. They are at the forefront of journalism: they testify in real time about real facts and fight to be as close as possible to the truth.
This award will soon be presented to them by a delegation of Albert Londres Award journalists in Kyiv.
Andriy Tsaplienko, in response, turned to his French colleagues:
“Thank you all. Thank you on behalf of all Ukrainian journalists. You know, shortly before the Russian invasion, I said that in a country where there is a war, all journalists become war correspondents. And least of all, I wanted my words to turn out to be prophetic.
Russian weapons took the lives of many of my colleagues who had never been in a war zone before February 24. Already on the first of March, on the street almost in the center of Kyiv, near the TV channel where I used to work, I saw the body of my colleague cameraman Yevgeny Sakun, burned beyond recognition after a rocket attack on the street. A good man who hated war. A few months later, a rocket flew into the apartment of journalist Vira Girych. We worked in the same newsroom. And she lived not far from me. She had a wonderful smile. And she said that she would never go to war. But the war came to her.
This war is the most unjust I have ever seen. Russian journalism turned into propaganda and information support of the war. Needless to say, under what false pretext Russia is now killing hundreds of people a day. Russia, which took Crimea and Donbas, accused us of Nazism.
I will tell you what Nazism is.
A few days ago, a Russian missile killed a newborn baby. The boy was only two days old. The mother barely had time to feed the child, when suddenly a rocket flew into the maternity hospital. This boy is the youngest victim of the Russians. And the oldest victim is 96 years old. Boris Romanchenko was captured by the Nazis during the Second World War, he was almost burned in an oven in a concentration camp. Instead, he was burned by a Russian missile in his own apartment in Kharkiv.
I’m talking about missiles, because now, according to the latest intelligence, about 20 Russian strategic bombers are on standby at a Russian air base. And the Russian missile frigate is located in the sea. This means that two hundred missiles are aimed at the territory of Ukraine. They can strike today. Or tomorrow
And we lack air defense systems to stop this “Fire Shaft”.
Of course, Putin is a scoundrel and a criminal. But he is not the one who personally presses the rocket launch button or shoots thousands of Ukrainian civilians. He is not the one who launches cruise missiles from strategic bombers to destroy Ukrainian energy and freeze Ukrainians. Thousands of other people do. People with Russian double-headed passports. And it is difficult for me to divide the degree of responsibility for the crimes between Putin and the hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers on Ukrainian soil.
And I wonder why many world leaders continue to associate with the worst criminal of our time. Shaking his hand. Avoiding calling evil by its name. I am told that this is required by certain diplomatic considerations.
I think diplomacy doesn’t work anymore. And the words we hope for don’t work either. In order to stop this war, we must call a spade a spade. I would like the people in this room to understand that. Putin is absolute evil. A big monster surrounded by small monsters. The one who says, “let’s give him Ukraine, and he will calm down,” is very mistaken.
Because we will not give up. This conflict has become existential for us. We may lose the battle, but we cannot lose the war. We realized that a nuclear bomb could be dropped on us. Or a poisonous substance. We accept this as a fact. Or we will win. Or we won’t be. But if we don’t, this evil will come to you. He who chooses shame between shame and war gets both the former and the latter. He who chooses the latter between values and standard of living loses both the first and the second.
We need more strategic weapons. This is the only thing that will save us and, ultimately, you. Evil understands only power. And evil has much greater opportunities than good. Because evil can lie. You and I are not. You and I are on the bright side, right? But we can convince the world with a true word to choose the bright side as well. And thereby save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians. Who look with hope to a world where Freedom, Equality and Fraternity reign.
On behalf of all these people, I thank you for the award and for your support.”