Folk band Svjata Vatra was presented with an award from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday for preserving cultural relations between Estonia and Ukraine during wartime.
"I am sincerely grateful for this formal recognition. I believe that this award is a recognition of our 17-year contribution to representing Estonian and Ukrainian culture in Estonia, Ukraine and 20 more countries," Svjata Vatra's Ruslan Trochynskyi said.
"Throughout the year, during various events organized in support of Ukraine, we have clearly felt that bringing people together through music is the essence of our band. It is a kind of cultural diplomacy that we are proud and happy to exercise."
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) highlighted the importance of cultural diplomacy when Ukraine is fighting for Europe's security and values.
"We must offer every support and recognition to creatives who preserve the cultural links of Estonia and Ukraine and support Ukraine through their work. Svjata Vatra has undoubtedly done this remarkably well," Reinsalu said.
The ministry's Cultural Adviser Dimitri Mironov said Svjata Vatra's commitment is remarkable.
"With their work, Svjata Vatra has helped to boost Estonia's good reputation and support for Ukraine," he said.
"Svjata Vatra is known in Estonia, Ukraine and beyond. Their work is characterized by a skillful combination of folk music and today's world. Their sold-out concerts show they have found their audience," he added.
The ministry has been presenting cultural awards since 2010.
Additionally, the ministry presented letters of appreciation to individuals or non-governmental organizations for citizen diplomacy.
Certificates were issued to the following citizens or NGOs:
NGO Mondo – for their great contribution to helping Ukraine.
NGO Slava Ukraini – for their great contribution to helping Ukraine.
NGO Estonian Refugee Council – for their great contribution to helping Ukraine.
Ragnar Sass – for his great contribution to helping Ukraine.
Tiina Ilsen – for her long-standing contribution to developing the Eastern Partnership policy at the Estonian Centre of Eastern Partnership.
Kärt Ulman – for her dedicated work in publishing, editing and developing the Vaba Eesti Sõna newspaper in the United States.
Silver Tambur – for the consistent and sensitive management of the English-language publication Estonian World, bringing together Estonians and friends of Estonia in Estonia and beyond.
Editor: Helen Wright