The winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday denounced Russian Vladimir Putin’s dictatorial attitude and his invasion of Ukraine during the award ceremony in Stockholm, reported the Associated Press.

Jailed Belarusian human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, Russian human rights organisation Memorial and Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties were awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize on October 7.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee had said that the award was an effort to promote a vision of peace and fraternity between nations amid the war in Ukraine.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, in what it claimed was a special operation to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” the east European country. However, Kyiv and several Western nations have said that this is a baseless pretext for a war of choice by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Office, the conflict has killed at least 6,702 persons as of December 5 in Ukraine. On the Russian side, 5,937 soldiers have died, according to the country’s military.

On Saturday, human rights activist Jan Rachinsky of Memorial said that the sad state of Russia’s civil society is a direct consequence of the country’s unresolved past.

“One of the first victims of this madness was the historical memory of Russia itself,” Rachinsky said, according to the Associated Press. “Now, the Russian mass media refer to the unprovoked armed invasion of a neighbouring country, the annexation of territories, terror against civilians in the occupied areas, and war crimes as justified by the need to fight fascism.”

Bialiatski, 60, who has been detained in Belarus without trial since 2020, dedicated the award to all his human rights defender friends, civic activists and “tens of thousands of Belarusians who have gone through beatings, torture, arrests, prison.”

He was not allowed to send his speech by Belarusian authorities, his wife, Natallia Pinchuk said. She spoke on his behalf at the ceremony.

“In my homeland, the entirety of Belarus is in a prison,” Bialiatski said. “I know exactly what kind of Ukraine would suit Russia and Putin – a dependent dictatorship. The same as today’s Belarus, where the voice of the oppressed people is ignored and disregarded.”

Bialiatski founded the Belarus rights group Viasna in 1996 following a crackdown on street protests by the country’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Oleksandra Matviichuk of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said that any political compromise regarding the territory of their country would mean yielding to the pressure of the aggressor.

“Peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms,” she said. “This would not be peace, but occupation.”

She also demanded Putin and Lukashenko should be tried at an international tribunal. “We have to prove that the rule of law does work, and justice does exist, even if they are delayed.”