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Russia, West reach agreement on defusing Ukraine tensions

Geneva, Apr 18 (): Top diplomats from the European Union, the United States, Ukraine and Russia have put forth a number of steps in a measure to ease mounting tensions in eastern Ukraine.

The potential political development, which the foreign minister of Russia mentioned as “a compromise, of sorts,” was put forth after about seven hours of discussions with US Secretary of State John F. Kerry, the European Union’s foreign policy chief and the Ukrainian foreign minister.

State John Kerry, while speaking in Geneva on Thursday, said the procedures include disarming pro-Russian militants lodging in the buildings in eastern Ukraine and the return of the buildings to their real owners.

As per the agreement, all parties, including protesters and their Russian supporters, would stop provocative and violent acts, including defusing of all unlawful groups. A mutual statement did not refer to what the US has mentioned are 40,000 Russian troops gathered on Ukraine’s southern and eastern borders. However Kerry said the joint statement made it clear that Russia is “totally prepared to start to react with respect to troops,” if the terms of the agreement are followed.

The monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, who are in Ukraine already, will be involved in setting the de-escalation procedures into place. However, Kerry warned that these plans are only in “words on paper” so far and success of the agreement will depend on how they are accepted and carried out.

In Washington, President Obama said during a press conference held at White House that the stated commitments of Russia were only the start of a process. He said that they had to be organised to potentially react to what is to be continued.

As reported in Washington Post, later on Thursday, Obama spoke to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the White House said the two leaders “stressed that Russia needs to take immediate, concrete actions to de-escalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, including by using its influence over the irregular forces in eastern Ukraine to get them to lay down their arms and leave the buildings they have seized.”

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