Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko awarded the highest award of Ukraine for foreigners – the Order of Liberty – to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the president’s press office reported on Thursday.
According to the president’s decree, Rasmussen is awarded “for significant contribution to the development of cooperation between the state of Ukraine and NATO, important support in defending the sovereignty, independence and integrity of Ukraine”.
During the awarding ceremony in Kyiv, the head of state stressed: “Over the years you have been and now remain a friend of Ukraine, and we hope that the development of our cooperation with NATO is the key to the success of our reforms, security and territorial integrity”.
In turn, Rasmussen said that he admires “aspirations of the Ukrainians for freedom”. He expressed his condolences to the families of those who died in the struggle for freedom, and to people who are suffering in these hard times. “We remain at the side of Ukraine and your struggle for the fundamental principles of a democratic society”, the NATO chief said.
He noted that NATO appreciates the distinctive partnership with Ukraine, adding: “I look forward to strengthening NATO-Ukraine cooperation w/a special meeting at NATO Summit in the UK.” Every state, Rasmussen said, has the right to decide its own future.
The NATO Secretary General thanked the President of Ukraine for the high award. “This award inspires me to my further fight for freedom”, he said.