In Mariinsky Palace, Victor Yushchenko has presented state awards to Ukraine’s prominent figures, among them authors, donors, steelworkers, lawyers and people of other professions, according to the President’s press-office.

In his speech, the Head of State said “people that have served the country and the nation with their efforts, labor and inspiration gathered in Mariinsky Palace today.”

“Opinions of many people depend greatly on your position and on what you say. So I ask you, Ukraine’s remarkable personalities, to continue working for the sake of Ukraine,” he said.

Mr. Yushchenko also commended the 1960 dissident movement, whose few members were present at the ceremony, for struggling for the country’s independence.