Ukraine on Monday welcomed the Oscar awarded to 20 Days in Mariupol, a documentary on the siege of the Ukrainian city in spring 2022 by the Russian army, deeming its success “important” in telling “the crimes of Russia” in a moment of uncertainty over American aid to kyiv. The film “shows the truth about Russian terrorism,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Monday. More than two years ago, Russia brutally attacked Mariupol. 20 Days in Mariupol is a film that shows the truth about Russian terrorism.” “The first Oscar in history. And how important it is right now, said the head of the presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, on social networks. The world has seen the truth about Russia’s crimes. Justice wins.”

The film which won the Oscar for best documentary on Sunday was produced by Ukrainian journalists – Mstyslav Chernov, Evgeniy Maloletka and Vasilisa Stepanenko – working for the Associated Press agency. In recent weeks, he has already won a series of international awards including the Pulitzer and the Bafta, the equivalent of the British Caesars. His success in Los Angeles sparked a wave of emotion on social networks in Ukraine. “Historic and sad event at the same time,” commented pro-Western opposition MP Iryna Guerashchenko. Thank you to the authors of this terrible film.”

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The documentary, available in replay on France Télévision, shows the agony of this city, located in eastern Ukraine, target of Russian forces from the first day of the invasion on February 22, 2022, and falling under their control 86 days later, at the cost of tens of thousands of deaths and almost total destruction.

AP journalists who spent three weeks in the besieged city managed to survive and get their images out. “I am probably the first director on this stage to say that I would have preferred never to make this film, if in return Russia had not attacked Ukraine, nor occupied our cities,” said Mstyslav Chernov, the director , during the ceremony organized in Los Angeles.

This reward comes at a time when the Ukrainian army is in difficulty on the front while Western aid crumbles. In the United States, Kiev’s most important military ally against Russia, an aid package of 60 billion dollars has been blocked for months in Congress against a backdrop of divisions between Republicans and Democrats.