On Tuesday, August 23, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy awarded the Order of Merit III degree to Ukrainian journalists, including five from the Luhansk region. Among them is Artem Vesko, operator of the Rada TV channel in the Luhansk region.
He was awarded for "significant merits in strengthening Ukrainian statehood, courage and self-sacrifice, significant personal contribution to the development of various spheres of public life, defense of national interests and conscientious performance of professional duties."
In 2014, Vesko wore a T-shirt with the separatist logo "polite people". At that time, he worked as an operator of the Lysychansk shopping center "Akcent". "Babel" asked Vesko to comment on the award, he suggested turning to the "Rada" channel. We sent a request there, the answer will be published separately.
Later, his wife Kateryna called us. She confirmed that Vesko received the order. This is how she explained the inscription on the T-shirt: "We didnʼt really understand what happened in Crimea. He [Artem] wore this T-shirt all day until one person recognized something similar [to the separatist logo]. Well, no one knew then what this T-shirt meant. It took a lot of nerves, there were many conversations with the Security Service of Ukraine. Thatʼs how it happened."
Albina Kusheleva, director of the mass communications department of the Luhansk regional military administration, clarified that "until May, Vesko was in Lysychansk and twice a day made reports for the national telethon." The meeting (board) of the staff of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting recommended giving Vesko the award. The award letter (the document is at the disposal of "Babel") was signed by the director of the "Kinokit" company Serhii Samoilenko (the company cooperates with the "Rada" TV channel).