During a visit to Turkey, Head of the Office of the Head of State Andriy Yermak, on behalf of President Volodymyr Zelensky, presented the Order of the Gold Star to five servicemen - the defenders of Mariupol and Azovstal, who were awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine. This was reported on the official website of the President of Ukraine.
The President awarded the highest state award to commander of a separate special forces detachment of the Azov National Guard Denys Prokopenko (callsign Redis), his deputy Svyatoslav Palamar, acting commander of the 36th separate brigade of the Marine Corps Serhii Volynskyi (callsign Volyna), senior officer Azov Oleh Khomenko and commander of the 12th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine Denys Shlehu.
The solemn presentation of awards took place during the meeting of Andriy Yermak and First Lady Olena Zelenska with the defenders of Azovstal and their families in Turkey.
"The units you led made an invaluable contribution to the future victory of Ukraine. You and your subordinates managed to forge the huge enemy forces. Forces that were not enough to occupy large territories", - Andriy Yermak said, presenting the order to Denys Prokopenko.
The head of the Office of the Head of State stressed that the defenders of Azovstal saved many lives in those territories where the enemy had not reached.
"You have gained time, and that time has not been lost. Now we are returning our territories and people. Ukraine will be free and united", - he noted.
During the meeting, a video call was made by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky. The head of state congratulated the servicemen and thanked them for their important combat mission in the defense of Mariupol.
"We all are proud of you. I am very happy that you have relatives with you and I am very happy that we have you. You are not just heroes, you are living heroes, and this is very important. I thank each of you. We will do everything to return your brothers who are now in captivity. I am proud that we live in one country, we fight for it together and we will definitely win. Glory to Ukraine!", - the head of state said.
"The battle for Mariupol and everything that happened to us, the way out of captivity is a Ukrainian miracle in defiance of fate. Everyone understands perfectly well what was to happen to us. There are people here who know what russian torture and russian captivity are. This award is the award of our warriors. This is the award of our Ukrainian people. I am very proud that I am Ukrainian. This is the coolest nation in the world! And the coolest government and the coolest military", - deputy commander of Azov Svyatoslav Palamar noted.
Olena Zelenska also congratulated the soldiers on behalf of all Ukrainian citizens whom they defended and presented valuable gifts.
The President's wife conveyed blessings to the defenders and their families from His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, whom she met in Istanbul the day before.
"The main thing is that Ukraine is fighting and will fight for all our people. There are still many of them in russian captivity - men and women, military and civilians. We need each and every one. Alive", - Zelenska said.
The defenders of Azovstal asked to hand over the flag of Ukraine to Volodymyr Zelensky with the signatures and wishes of five commanders and motto "There is no glory without a fight".
Let us recall that the defenders of Azovstal met with their relatives in Turkey on October 3.