OTTAWA — Former prime minister Stephen Harper has been awarded one of Ukraine's highest honours.
Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko granted the Order of Liberty to Harper to mark the 25th anniversary of Ukraine's independence this week.
Past recipients of the award, which recognizes contributions towards strengthening Ukraine's sovereignty, include top diplomats of NATO and the European Commission.
Harper led the charge to have Russia booted out of the G8 following that country's annexation of Crimea in 2014.
As prime minister, he also pledged millions in military trainers and other forms of aid to Ukraine, which was also one of the last countries he visited before last fall's election.
Harper was not the only Canadian honoured by the Ukrainian government for their contributions this week — others included his fellow Conservative MP Jason Kenney, Liberal MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj and other members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community.
Harper said he was deeply honoured by the award.
"I look forward to the day when Ukraine’s freedom and territory are no longer threatened by the Putin regime," read a message on his Twitter account.
"We must continue to stand with the people of Ukraine."
Harper is expected to remain involved in international issues after he resigns his seat as a member of Parliament, a move expected by the time Conservatives gather in Halifax in September.
His next steps include the full launch of a consulting business that will have a foreign affairs component to its work.