President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and “the spirit of Ukraine” has been named Time magazine’s 2022 Person of the Year.
The annual award by the US magazine’s editors is given to someone who is felt to have had the most global influence during the last 12 months.
The magazine has previously said their Person of the Year is someone “who affected the news or our lives the most, for better, or worse”.
Mr Zelenskyy has led his country through the war with Russia following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Despite international appeals for the 44-year-old and his family to be evacuated to a safe location during the opening days of the invasion, Mr Zelenskyy stayed in Kyiv with his defence forces.
He said he was “not hiding” and “not afraid of anyone” as he led his nation’s response.
Time’s editor-in-chief, Edward Felsenthal, said the magazine’s decision was “the most clear-cut in memory”.
He said: “Whether the battle for Ukraine fills one with hope or with fear, the world marched to Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s beat in 2022.”
Mr Felsenthal added that Mr Zelenskyy’s decision when the war started “not to flee Kyiv but to stay and rally support was fateful”.
“For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defence of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy – and of peace – Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the spirit of Ukraine are Time’s 2022 Person of the Year,” he added.
The magazine also highlighted people said to embody the spirit of Ukraine.
They included engineer Oleg Kutkov, who helped keep Ukraine connected, Olga Rudenko, the editor of the Kyiv Independent, and British combat surgeon David Nott.
Mr Zelenskyy was born in 1978 in Russian-speaking Kryvyi Rih, a southeastern region of what was then known as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
He was 12 when the Soviet Union dissolved and Ukraine gained its independence.
The former comedian and actor shocked the world when he won the 2019 presidential election with a landslide 73% of the vote in the second round over Petro Poroshenko.
Time journalist Simon Shuster said the president’s “success as a wartime leader has relied on the fact that courage is contagious” and that it “spread through Ukraine’s political leadership in the first days of the invasion”.
Mr Zelenskyy told Time: “I have not finished this great, important action for our country. Not yet.”
Xi Jinping and Liz Cheney were candidates
There were several candidates being considered for 2022, including Chinese president, Xi Jinping, US politician Liz Cheney, and billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.
Other winners have included Angela Merkel in 2015, Donald Trump in 2016, Greta Thunberg in 2019 and Joe Biden alongside Kamala Harris in 2020.
Actress Michelle Yeoh was named Icon of the Year 2022 yesterday as the magazine celebrated her 40-year career, including Everything Everywhere All at Once, tipped to be an Oscar favourite.
The annual tradition started in 1927 when American aviator Charles Lindbergh was given the title after making the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight from New York to Paris.
The accolade can also go to controversial people due to their impact on world events, with Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin previously being named.