President Petro Poroshenko has presented Francois Hollande with one of Ukraine's highest awards in Kyiv, praising the former French leader's support in the face of Russia's "aggression."
"I have the honor to present Francois Hollande with a prestigious state award of Ukraine, namely the Order of Liberty,” Poroshenko wrote on Facebook on October 1.
He added that the award symbolizes Ukraine's "boundless gratitude for the principled position" that Hollande showed in supporting the country's "sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence."
During the ceremony, Poroshenko thanked the ex-French leader for his role in the introduction of European Union sanctions against Russia over its illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March 2014 and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, according to a statement posted on the Ukrainian presidential website.
He also hailed Hollande, who was French president from 2012 to 2017, for his role in diplomatic initiatives aimed at putting an end to fighting between government forces and the separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Hollande was also praised for halting the delivery of two French-built Mistral navy warships Russia had purchased.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the separatists hold parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, has killed more than 10,300 people since April 2014.
Peace accords signed in Belarus’s capital, Minsk, in September 2014 and February 2015, have failed to put an end to the violence.