Biden praises Zelenskyy in 'Time' magazine's list of most influential people

Round-up includes actors, leaders, activists, pioneers and business titans

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US President Joe Biden has praised his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Time magazine's annual list of the world's 100 most influential people.

The list also includes two Syrian human rights lawyers, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a Pakistani judge who thwarted an attempt by Imran Khan to stay in power.

Monday's Time100 list features many of the world's most recognisable names such as Chinese President Xi Jinping, actor Keanu Reeves and Apple chief executive Tim Cook, but it also highlights the work of civil society members such as Afghan women's rights campaigner Hoda Khamosh and Brazilian indigenous activist Sonia Guajajara.

Mr Biden credited Mr Zelenskyy, who took on the mantle of wartime leader when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, for setting a strong example for his people.

“Each time we speak, I hear in President Zelenskyy’s voice the relentless determination of a man who believes profoundly in his duty to his people and lives up daily to the solemn responsibility of leading his nation through this dark and difficult hour,” Mr Biden wrote.

“With the support of the US and our allies and partners, he has left his mark on history and proved to the world that Ukraine will long endure and its people will ultimately realise the democratic future they have long desired.”

But not all on the list garnered such praise: Alexei Navalny — the Russian opposition leader who was sentenced to nine years in prison after returning home from Germany following treatment for Novichok poisoning — described Mr Putin as a brutal dictator.

“If someone destroys the independent media, organises political assassinations and sticks to his imperial delusions, then he is a madman capable of causing a bloodbath in the centre of Europe in the 21st century,” Mr Navalny wrote.

The two Syrian civil rights lawyers named on the list, Anwar Al Bunni and Mazen Darwish, both spent time in prison before fleeing to Europe.

They gave evidence at a historic trial in Germany in which a former senior Syrian official was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity.

“This dent in the impunity behind so many atrocities in Syria — one of several similar prosecutions under way — pays a measure of respect to the victims and provides hope for further justice. These prosecutions can help to deter further atrocities, in Syria and elsewhere,” Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth wrote in Time.

Umar Ata Bandial, the chief justice of Pakistan, was included in the list for overturning Mr Khan’s move to dissolve Parliament last month. Mr Khan had served as prime minister since 2018.

Other names include Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed, Oprah Winfrey and Indian billionaire Gautam Adani. Notable absences include two of the world's richest men, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Updated: May 24, 2022, 5:37 AM
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