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Volodymyr Zelenskyy Is TIME’s 2022 Person of the Year

Dec 7, 2022 | Featured, World

Illustration by Neil Jamieson for TIME Source Images: Getty Images (12); Ivanchuk: Lena Mucha—The New York Times/Redux; Kondratova: Kristina Pashkina—UNICEF; Kutkov: Courtesy Oleg Kutkov; Nott: Annabel Moeller—David Nott Foundation; Payevska: Evgeniy Maloletka—AP

The call from the President’s office came on a Saturday evening: Be ready to go the next day, an aide said, and pack a toothbrush. There were no details about the destination or how we would get there, but it wasn’t difficult to guess. Only two days earlier, on the 260th day of the invasion of Ukraine, the Russians had retreated from the city of Kherson. It was the only regional capital they had managed to seize since the start of the all-out war in February, and the Kremlin had promised it would forever be a part of Russia. Now Kherson was free, and Volodymyr Zelensky wanted to get there as soon as possible.

His bodyguards were urging him to wait. The Russians had destroyed the city’s infrastructure, leaving it with no water, power, or heat. Its outskirts were littered with mines. Government buildings were rigged with trip wires. On the highway to Kherson, an explosion had destroyed a bridge, rendering it impassable. As they fled, the Russians were also suspected of leaving behind agents and saboteurs who could try to ambush the presidential convoy, to assassinate Zelensky or take him hostage. There would be no way to ensure his safety on the central square, where crowds had gathered to celebrate the city’s liberation, within range of Russian artillery.

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Nadia Prokopiw
Federal Provincial Child Care
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