Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has been awarded a prestigious UK prize for his leadership and contribution to international relations, the Chatham House think-tank said on Thursday.

The London-based research body said it had awarded Zelensky the 2023 Chatham House Prize, hailing his transformation from actor-turned novice politician to wartime leader as "nothing short of extraordinary".

"The former actor has unified his nation in defiance of a formidable foe," the think-tank said in a statement.

"He has also created a new form of modern diplomacy and leadership through his use of social media and direct communication with world leaders, marshalling a wide-ranging coalition in support of Ukraine at the United Nations and beyond."

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"The people of Ukraine have faced a relentless onslaught in this brutal invasion," added Chatham House director Bronwen Maddox.

"President Zelensky has united his nation in resistance and counter-offensive and demonstrated a mastery of international diplomacy," she said.

Zelensky is expected to make a short live virtual address to the think-tank's annual conference on Thursday with a special representative collecting the award on his behalf.

One of his predecessors, Viktor Yuschenko, was a recipient of the Chatham House Prize in 2005, in recognition of his role in the country's "Orange Revolution" after rigged presidential elections.

Accepting the award, he said: "We're convinced that the key area in foreign policy should be the European aspirations by Ukraine, mainly in the integration into the European Union and NATO."

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