Ukrainian President Zelenskyy awards universal music with peace prize for wartime support

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has awarded Universal Music Group Ukraine’s Peace Prize for their support of Ukraine during the country’s war with Russia.

At a ceremony on Monday (September 5) at UMG’s Belgian headquarters in Brussels, Olha StefanishynaUkraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, presented the award to Frank BriegmannUMG’s chairman and managing director for Central Europe.

UMG, which was among the first major brands to declare his support for economic sanctions against Russia after it invaded Ukraine in February. 24, is the first music company to receive the award from Ukraine.

“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Universal Music has proven that they are true friends of Ukraine,” says Stefanishyna.

The brand says its efforts include support for NGOs including World Central Kitchen, International Red Cross, International Rescue Committee, CARE and International Medical Corps.

UMG director vp Michele Anthony also played a central role in Global Citizen’s “Stand Up for Ukraine” social media rally in April, which helped raise more than $10 billion for Ukrainian refugee aid through the EU Pledge Summit. The event brought together hundreds of thousands of global citizens, including many UMG artists, as well as other musicians, athletes, actors, creators and activists.

The brand also helped organize various charity concerts that generated millions of dollars for relief efforts. In July, UMG labels Decca Classics and Deutsche Grammophon teamed up with New York’s Metropolitan Opera to release Concert for Ukraine, an album recorded live at the Met on March 14 with a special concert in support of Ukrainians. Led by music director Yannick Nézet-Séguinthe album opens with Ukraine’s national anthem, featuring Ukrainian bass-baritone and Lindemann Young artist Vladyslav Buialskyi. The proceeds from the sale of the album were donated to charities supporting the relief efforts in Ukraine.

Numerous UMG artists also raised millions of euros at the “Sound of Peace” charity concert in Berlin, e.g. Sarah Connor, Rhea Garvey and David Garrett. And a charity concert in Poland, organized with a choir and an orchestra of Polish and Ukrainian musicians, was broadcast in 50 countries, says UMG.

UMG artist Plug re-recorded his song “Russians,” and pledged proceeds to HelpUkraine.Center (, a volunteer warehouse established by Ukrainian business owners to receive humanitarian and medical aid from around the world.

“Throughout history, music has served as a beacon of inspiration and hope and healing — helping to bring peace to those affected by violence,” Briegmann said when accepting the award. “The Russian military invasion of Ukraine is affecting millions with urgent humanitarian needs – from food and water to shelter and clothing. Universal Music and our employees and artists are proud to support groups that are on the ground providing life-saving, humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.”

Other recipients of the Ukraine Peace Prize include Microsoft, Google and Amazon (for its Amazon Web Services, or AWS).

Volodymyr Zelenskyy gives a speech on evaluation of the 22nd day of the war between Russia and Ukraine during a virtual speech in Kiev, Ukraine on March 17, 2022.

The Ukrainian Presidency / Handout / Anadolu Agency via GI

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