Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a Ukrainian civil honor — the Order of Princess Olga — following their meeting in Kyiv, a decoration given to women who have made outstanding contributions to the Ukrainian state.
It is meant to highlight her “significant personal contribution” to strengthening America’s ties with Ukraine and “supporting sovereign, independent and democratic Ukraine,” the Ukrainian government said in a statement.
According to a 1997 presidential decree, both foreigners and citizens of Ukraine can be awarded the medal, which marks the achievements of women in various fields, including public service, science and education.
Pelosi said in a statement Sunday that she and members of the first official congressional delegation since the Ukraine war began met with Zelensky in Kyiv to “send an unmistakable and resounding message to the entire world: America stands firmly with Ukraine.”
Pelosi, who is next in line to the presidency after the vice president, was pictured walking the streets of Kyiv in a video posted by Zelensky on Sunday, along with House Democrats including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks (N.Y.), Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (Mass.) and Rep. Jason Crow (Colo.).
Reps. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and William R. Keating (Mass.) were also part of the delegation, Pelosi’s office said.
Pelosi was also given a Ukrainian flag signed by Zelensky and female members of parliament, said Pelosi’s spokesman, Drew Hammill, according to CNN.
In March, as Russian forces continued their brutal invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv residents flocked to the capital’s statue of Princess Olga to protect it from shelling, along with other surrounding monuments dear to the Ukrainian people.
Photos taken in Kyiv at the time showed volunteers stacking sandbags high to protect the monument dedicated to the princess, who was the first recorded woman to reign Kievan Rus, the first East Slavic state, founded by Vikings.
Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, was also awarded the Order of Princess Olga by Zelensky last month during her visit to Ukraine’s capital.
Metsola tweeted that she was “honoured” and “humbled” to receive the award, which officials said marked her “significant personal contribution to the consolidation of international support for Ukraine” during Russia’s invasion.
“It means a great deal to me personally & is symbolic of the special bond the [European Parliament] has with Ukrainians,” she wrote. “We are with Ukraine today & we will be with them tomorrow.”
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