President Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, but escalating tensions over his troops’ presence in Ukraine is likely to damage his chances of winning.
Geir Lundestad, the director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, disclosed a list of 278 candidates for the prize Wednesday.
The announcement came at an awkward time as the Russia’s leader is accused of invading Ukraine.
Russia seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea region after President Viktor Yanukovich was toppled on Feb. 22, provoking what many see as the most serious confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
The nomination was likely submitted in October, when Putin had just acted as a main figure in the deal to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons, the Huffington Post said, citing Russian news reports.
The paper criticized the nomination, which it said did not take into account that Putin was also providing Syria with conventional weapons.
The Huffington Post explained that receiving a nomination was extremely easy and that the Nobel Committee had also made some controversial picks in the past.
The committee narrowed its list to between 25 and 40 on Tuesday and will cut its list to about a dozen by the end of April.
The winner will be announced on the second Friday of October and the prize will be presented on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
By Ock Hyun-ju, Intern reporter (firstname.lastname@example.org)