Top 10 Achievements of Ukraine in 2018

Girl running with Ukrainian flag

2018 was fruitful for Ukraine in numerous aspects from sports and science to civil rights.

Oleg Sentsov wins the 2018 Sakharov Prize

Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov captured by the Russian officials in 2014 and sentenced to 20 years of prison on charges of terrorism. Numerous organizations such as Amnesty International, the European Film Academy and the French Film Directors’ Guild have supported Sentsov and demanded his release.

According to the European Parliament, Oleg Sentsov has become a symbol of the struggle for the release of political prisoners held in Russia and around the world. By awarding the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Parliament stands in solidarity with Sentsov.

The first Ukrainian to receive the International Press Freedom Award

In November 2018, Ukrainian journalist Anastasiya Stanko was awarded a prestigious International Press Freedom Award in New York City. She became the first Ukrainian ever to receive the prize. Anastasiya Stanko is a co-founder of Hromadske, an independent media channel that became increasingly popular after covering the events of the Revolution of Dignity.

In 2014, she started a career as a war correspondent and was captured in Luhansk by the operatives of the so-called Luhansk People's Republic. According to Stanko, the award is 'a sign of what Ukrainian journalists have to deal with while moving our country toward Europe and the rest of the civilized world and their values.'

Establishing the new Ukrainian Autocephalous Church

Kyiv Pechersk LavraBefore 2018, Orthodox Church in Ukraine was represented by three churches: the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the Moscow Patriarchate), the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (the Kyiv Patriarchate), and the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. At the end of 2018, Ukraine initiated the procedure of separating from the Moscow Patriarchate and uniting the Orthodox Church in a single entity.

The new Ukrainian Autocephalous Church was recognized by the Holy See and the Vatican. In particular, Vatican News reported about appointing of the new first Primate of Ukrainian Autocephalous Church, Metropolitan Epiphanius Dumenko. In the nearest future, Ukraine is expected to obtain a Tomos - a religious decree that officially recognizes the autonomy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Ukrainian documentary movie got in the Oscar 2019 shortlist

The Distant Barking of Dogs was chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences among the one hundred sixty-six films that were originally submitted in the 'Documentary Feature' category. The movie is set in Donbass and tells the story of a 10-year-old boy Oleg, whose life is affected by the ongoing war. The documentary piece doesn't focus on the combat scenes, giving the spotlight to Oleg and his experiences of life in the war zone instead.

Banda Agency is the Agency of the Year 2018 by Red Dot

Banda Agency - Ukrainian winners of Red Dot award 2018Ukrainian creative agency Banda Agency received the prestigious Red Dot award in 2018. The company was named the Agency of the Year 2018 and noted for 'straightforward and unexpected creative solutions that put effectiveness of communications in the first place,' as stated in the profile at the Red Dot website.

Banda is known for working with the Eurovision Song Contest, Uber, and creating the new Ukrainian brand - Ukraine Now. You can find out more about the brand and its implementation in our interview with the State Secretary of the Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine Artem Bidenko.

Ukrainian designers set 2018 fashion trends

Models wearing Ruslan Baginskiy capsThe statement accessory of 2018, a conductor cap, was brought back in the world fashion by the Ukrainian milliner Ruslan Baginskiy. The accessories by the Lviv native were noted a year ago by Vogue as well as numerous celebrities and IT girls like Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Anna Dello Russo and Madonna.

This is not the first Ukrainian fashion brand to be internationally recognized. Demi-denims jeans by Ksenia Schnaider were featured by Dazed and seen on Bella Hadid.

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The rise of Ukrainian aviation

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko celebrates Ryanair entering the Ukrainian marketThanks to the liberalization of the visa regime between Ukraine and the EU, Ukrainian airports are transforming into the major transportation hubs of Eastern Europe. In May 2018, Airport Council International (ACI Europe) recognized KBP Boryspil International Airport as leading by a dynamic increase of passenger traffic among the airports servicing from 10 to 25 million passengers.

October 2018 became a record-breaking month in Ukrainian aviation - 22 new flights to various European cities were launched from Lviv and Kyiv during only four days. The flights were mostly introduced by low-cost airlines like WizzAir and Ryanair. Moreover, Ukrainian-based low-cost SkyUp airlines also began operating in 2018.

Firefly Aerospace company with Ukrainian roots chosen by NASA to explore the Moon

Firefly Aerospace rocketFirefly Aerospace is a private aerospace company headquartered in Texas, United States. A year ago, the company and all its assets were purchased by Ukrainian entrepreneur Max Polyakov, who rebranded the enterprise, in particular, changing its name from Firefly Space Systems to Firefly Aerospace.

In November 2018, Firefly Aerospace was selected by NASA for CLPS - a Commercial Lunar Payload Services contract. Its main objective is provision of payload services between the Earth and the lunar surface for various NASA Headquarters, as states the company's website. Firefly Aerospace is to provide all necessary activities for transporting and operating NASA payloads within the CLPS contract.

Oleksandr Usyk and his breakthroughs in boxing

Oleksandr UsykUkrainian master Oleksandr Usyk is the first boxer in history to hold all four major world championships at cruiserweight. So far in his professional career, Usyk had no losses either by knockout or judge decision. In 2018, Usyk fought the former unified cruiserweight world champion Murat Gassiev and the former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew. Both fights ended in Usyk's victory. Moreover, Usyk also rose up in the ranking of world best boxers by The Ring. Now, he holds the 4th rank regardless of weight class. The first rank is occupied by another Ukrainian native, Vasyl Lomachenko.

17-year-old Ukrainian is the youngest Judo world champion

Ukrainian judo champion Daria BilodidThe 17-year-old Daria Bilodid is the new judo world champion - and the youngest to hold the title. The young Ukrainian judoka won gold at the 2018 World Judo Championships, securing her place on top in women's 48 kg competition. It's also worth noting that Bilodid is the first Ukrainian to ever win the Judo World Championship.

The following list is the editor's choice.
Photo sources:, Sabau Gabriela /, Usyk Facebook page, Firefly Aerospace Facebook page,, All images belong to their rightful authors.

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