"This year has been a great challenge for us, and it has brought our nation together, but for Ukrainians it has been immeasurably harder and more difficult. Now is the right moment to say thank you to our friends, but also to realise that our friendship needs to be strengthened further and we need to help Ukrainians even more," said Edvards Smiltēns, Speaker of the Saeima, at an award ceremony on Monday, 20 February, presenting Saeima certificates of appreciation to representatives of civil society and organisations for their support to the Ukrainian people.
"Friendship is about selfless giving, values, and principles," said Speaker Smiltēns, underlining the close relations between Latvia and Ukraine.
Thousands of people all over Latvia deserve recognition for their selfless support to Ukraine, said Edvards Smiltēns. The Speaker of the Saeima appreciated the altruistic involvement of the public in supporting Ukraine and stressed that this should be done until the Ukrainian people are free from the occupiers and Ukraine is recovered—a free, independent, democratic member of the European Union and NATO.
"Today is the commemoration day of the Heavenly Hundred in Ukraine. We are very well aware of the price of freedom and independence," said Olena Kondratiuk, Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, addressing the participants of the ceremony.
Olena Kondratiuk thanked the Latvian civil society, organisations, and every citizen for their help. "We feel your warm hearts and souls," said the Deputy Speaker, highlighting the unity, participation, and strength of the Latvian people in supporting Ukraine.
Certificates of appreciation for the support provided to the Ukrainian people were awarded to Olexandr Mischenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Latvia, as well as representatives of civil society and organisations Rūta Dimanta, Head of Ziedot.lv, and the Ziedot.lv team— Ilze Ošāne, Inese Danga, Madara Mežviete, and Baiba Drone. Representatives of the association Agendum—Reinis Poznaks, Juris Pūce, and Laura Pliča-Stankeviča—were also awarded. Certificates of appreciation were also given to Andrejs Osokins, who together with his colleagues implemented the project Warm Meals for Ukrainian Soldiers, as well as to the organisations TEV, Mūsu ligzda, Confederation of Associations of Ukrainians Living in Latvia VICHE, SUSTENTO, Latvian Hunters' Union, Association of Water Supply and Sewerage Companies of Latvia, and the initiative STOPIFY.
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