President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has been named Ukraine's Person of the Year for social and political activity. 

The award is given to outstanding representatives of politics, culture and arts for their contribution to strengthening the Ukrainian independence, supporting and promoting Ukraine, its people, history and traditions.

Previous recipients include Pope John Paul II, former EU foreign policy high representative Javier Solana and US senator John McCain, among others. 

In a recorded message broadcast during the award ceremony in Kyiv, President Coleiro Preca expressed her gratitude and said she was confident ties between Malta and Ukraine would grow stronger in the years to come. 

She noted that Malta's EU Council presidency during 2017 was instrumental in finalising a visa liberalisation deal between the EU and Ukraine. The deal means that as of last month, Ukrainian citizens do not need a visa to visit EU member states for trips of up to 90 days. 

“The Visa Liberalisation development is evidence of the closeness and friendship we wish to nurture, not only between our two peoples, but also among the entire European Family,” President Coleiro Preca said.