Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has praised the nation's Paralympic medallists ©Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has heaped praise on the nation's team of 20 athletes competing at the Winter Paralympics.

Ukraine's participation at Beijing 2022 was in doubt after Russia launched an attack on the country, but a full Paralympic delegation was able to fly to China.

They have been highly successful, winning nine gold medals, 10 silvers and six bronzes to date.

The team has now been picked out for praise by Zelenskyy in his latest address to the under-siege nation.

"Now the good news and the victories of Ukraine for all of us are worth their weight in gold," Zelenskyy said.

"Or silver and bronze.

"And all this - for Ukraine - is successfully won by our Paralympians in Beijing.

"Today, everyone is gaining glory for Ukraine in his or her place. 

"[It] shows the world who Ukrainians are and what strength we have.

"With a weapon in hands on the battlefield or with a sporting rifle on a biathlon track."

The Ukrainian Paralympic team have made their opposition to the Russian invasion clear ©Getty Images
The Ukrainian Paralympic team have made their opposition to the Russian invasion clear ©Getty Images

The Paralympians' success comes amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

At least 549 civilian deaths have been recorded by the United Nations, which reports civilians are being "killed and maimed in what appear to be indiscriminate attacks".

It fears the true death toll is far higher, and more than 2.2 million refugees have already fled Ukraine.

Biathlete Anastasiia Laletina pulled out of one race because her father was captured by Russian forces, in a reminder of the personal nature of conflict for so many of the Ukrainian Paralympians, while several athletes and coaches' homes are reported to have been destroyed by shelling.

Belarus is supporting what Russia terms the "special military operation", and athletes from the two countries were both banned outright from the Winter Paralympics as a consequence.

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) chief brand and communications officer Craig Spence has suggested that Ukraine's journey and achievements are film-worthy.

IPC President Andrew Parsons made an impassioned call for peace during his Opening Ceremony speech, although Chinese viewers did not get to read this as state broadcaster CCTV did not translate the part of Parsons' speech which made mention of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.