Abbott was hugged by many, happily posed for photos and even signed the Ukrainian flag on Wednesday after being awarded the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations’ inaugural Freedom Award.
He was a strong supporter of Ukraine when Russian rebels forced their way into Ukrainian territory and later shot down MH17, killing 298 passengers and crew.
That was recognised with the award “for his strength and international support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in its time of need.”
Abbott told the crowd that almost nothing had given him more satisfaction than working with Ukraine during the past two years.
“In part to assert the universal decencies of mankind against their violators, whether that be a terrorist caliphate or a Russian president who needed shirtfronting,” he said.
Abbott said many lasting legacies were born from his relationship with the Ukrainian president and people, including introducing an Australian embassy and resident ambassador in the country and logistic relationships formed between Ukrainian and Australian armed forces.
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