Surprise Deal Reached on Ukraine Crisis

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement, according to which all sides should take steps to "de-escalate" the crisis in eastern Ukraine, but the US says it was uncertain if Moscow would stand by the deal.

Surprise Deal Reached on Ukraine Crisis

The agreement laid out concrete steps to "restore security for all citizens" and crucially urged "all illegal armed groups" to disarm and vacate "seized buildings".

It also puts on hold additional economic sanctions which the West had prepared to impose on Russia if the talks were fruitless, AP reported.

"All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions," a joint statement issued after the Geneva talks said.

It also gives amnesty to protesters who comply with the demands, except those found guilty of capital crimes.

US Secretary of State John Kerry called the deal the result of a "good day's work" but emphasised that the words on paper must be followed by concrete actions and that those who had initially armed the groups were now responsible for making sure the disarmament took place.

He said he had warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that Moscow would soon feel the brunt of new sanctions should it not follow through on its commitments under the agreement.

Lavrov, speaking to reporters after the seven-hour negotiation, also spoke about the need for disarmament of unofficial armed groups, saying weapons should only be held by legitimate groups, and that the deal included "all regions of Ukraine".

Obama, however, conveyed skepticism about Russia’s promises to de-escalate the crisis, adding that the US and its allies are ready to impose fresh sanctions if Moscow did not follow up on its commitments.

"The question now becomes, will in fact they use the influence that they've exerted in a disruptive way to restore some order so that Ukrainians can carry out an election, move forward with the decentralisation reforms that they've proposed, stabilize their economy and start getting back on the path of growth and democracy and that their sovereignty will be respected?" said Obama.

He did not say what additional sanctions might be in the offing if commitments made by Russia in Geneva do not materialise. US officials have prepared penalties on wealthy Russians in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as well on the entities they run.

British Prime Minister David Cameron pledged an extra $1.7m for a monitoring mission to Ukraine after speaking to the Obama on Thursday, in order to fortify potential sanctions against Russia.

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