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article imageUkraine decorates 'immense' ex-president Hollande

By AFP     Oct 1, 2018 in World

President Petro Poroshenko decorated Francois Hollande with one of Ukraine's highest awards on Monday praising the former French leader's "immense" role in the peace process with Russia and pro-Moscow separatists.

More than 10,000 people have been killed since the separatist insurgency broke out in Eastern Ukraine in April 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Kiev's control.

Poroshenko awarded Hollande the "Order of Freedom", praising his "immense role in protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of the country.

President from 2012 to 2017, Hollande supported German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders in peace talks between Kiev and pro-Russian militants.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Russia of funnelling troops and arms across the border, but Moscow has denied the claims despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In his memoirs published this year Hollande detailed peace talks he attended with Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk in February 2015.

Hollande claimed Putin threatened to "purely and simply crush" Ukrainian forces during a tense exchange with Poroshenko.

"This was the same as admitting the presence of his troops in the east of Ukraine," Hollande writes. "He (Putin) corrects himself immediately."

Poroshenko read out extracts from the book "Lecons du pouvoir" (Lessons of power) and said it "covers this complicated mission very well".

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