Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions
GENEVA (AP) - Ukraine's foreign minister says the agreement reached in Geneva today will be a "test" to see if Russia really wants to see stability in the region.
After seven hours of negotiations, top diplomats from the U.S., Europe, Russia and Ukraine agreed on some immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.
It doesn't spell out any specific directions for Ukraine's future. But it requires all sides to halt any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. It also calls for all illegally armed groups to be disarmed. And buildings that were seized by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are supposed to be turned back over to authorities there.
Secretary of State John Kerry says he's warned Russia's foreign minister that if Moscow doesn't follow through on its commitments under the deal, there will soon be new sanctions. But for now, additional economic sanctions that the West had prepared to impose on Russia are on hold. That will ease international pressure on Moscow as well as on nervous European Union nations that depend on Russia for their energy.
Monitors from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe will help Ukraine authorities and local communities comply with the agreement.