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A Nobel Prize-winning Russian editor says he will donate his medal for Ukraine relief

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov of Russia holds his speech during the gala award ceremony for the Nobel Peace prize on December 10, 2021 in Oslo. - Investigative journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won the prestigious award in October for their work promoting freedom of expression at a time when liberty of the press is increasingly under threat. - Norway OUT (Photo by Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB / AFP) / Norway OUT (Photo by STIAN LYSBERG SOLUM/NTB/AFP via Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dmitry Muratov of Russia speaks during the gala award ceremony for the Nobel Peace prize on Dec. 10, 2021, in Oslo.

Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov has announced he will auction off his Nobel Peace Prize medal to raise money for Ukrainian refugees.

Muratov was one of two winners of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, along with Philippine journalist Maria Ressa. He is the editor-in-chief of the Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper known for its critical and investigative coverage of the country's politics and social affairs.

Muratov announced his decision on the newspaper's website on Tuesday.

" Novaya Gazeta and I have decided to donate the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize Medal to the Ukrainian Refugee Fund," he wrote, according to Google's English translation. "There are already over 10 million of refugees. I ask the auction houses to respond and put up for auction this world-famous award."

He also called on Russia to stop combat fire, exchange prisoners, provide humanitarian corridors and assistance, release the bodies of the dead and support refugees.

On the individual level, he said, people can "share with refugees, the wounded and children who need urgent treatment what is dear to you and has a value for others."

Muratov previously pledged that he would "not take or receive even one single cent" of the money that came with the peace prize, telling the United Nations that the newspaper held an editorial board meeting to determine how to distribute it.

They decided to donate it to several causes, including a health foundation that helps journalists, a foundation that supports children with serious rare diseases, a children's hospice in Moscow, a clinic that treats children with leukemia and the Anna Politkovskaya Prize Foundation — which was established in the memory of a Novaya Gazeta journalist who was murdered in 2006.

Many independent news outlets in Russia have been forced to shutter since the invasion of Ukraine because of a new law that criminalizes war reporting that is at odds with the Kremlin's narrative.

Novaya Gazeta announced earlier this month that it would remove content about the war in Ukraine from its website and social media channels, citing censorship and legal threats from the government. But it said it would continue to report on the consequences Russia is facing as a result of its actions.

It said the move was taken to balance the interests of readers with the freedom of its staff.

"Military censorship in Russia has quickly moved into a new phase: from the threat of blocking and closing publications (almost fully implemented) it has moved to the threat of criminal prosecution of both journalists and citizens who spread information about military hostilities that is different from the press releases of the Ministry of Defense," the paper said in a message to readers, according to Reuters. "There is no doubt that this threat will be realised."

This story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.