Thousands Sign Petition Seeking Nobel Peace Prize for Volodymyr Zelensky

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Zelensky has been hailed as a hero in Ukraine and around the world, remaining in Kyiv and rallying his people to keep up their resistance to the invading forces since Russia launched its assault on February 24.

Matt Walton started the Change.org petition, calling for the Norwegian Nobel Committee to award Zelensky the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for 2022.

The petition also calls for TIME magazine to name Zelensky as its 2022 Person of the Year. As of early Sunday, the petition has garnered more than 80,000 signatures.

Zelensky, a former actor and comedian, "has been leading his country in fighting to save his county and Europe from the aggression of war from the tyrant Vladimir Putin," the petition states.

"We, the signers of this petition, believe and recognize that President Zelensky is fighting for peace and trying to preserve the concept of a free democratic society.

"We further believe that President Zelensky has been a great leader and role model to not only his country, but the world. Finally, we believe that President Zelensky has been an inspiring person to the world.

"We, the signers, call upon the Nobel Foundation to award the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to President Zelensky and for TIME to award him the honor of 2022 Person of the Year."

The winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in October, while TIME typically unveils its Person of the Year in December.

The petition's organizer could not immediately be contacted for comment.

It comes as Russia's invasion has devastated a number of Ukrainian cities, caused a humanitarian crisis and prompted millions to flee their homes.

In a late-night address on Saturday, Zelensky urged the West to deliver tanks, plans and missiles to Ukraine to fend off Russian forces who were targeting the country's food and fuel depots.

"We've already been waiting 31 days. Who is in charge of the Euro-Atlantic community? Is it really still Moscow, because of intimidation?" he said, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden capped a four-day trip to Europe with a speech where he said Putin "cannot remain in power."

The White House later walked back the remark, saying the president was not calling for regime change.

"The President's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region," the White House said. "He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia, or regime change."

According to the United Nations, at least 1,104 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia's invasion began.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky remotely addresses by video-link the Doha Forum in Qatar's capital on March 26, 2022. Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images