Russia, U.S. & EU Agree On A Pact To Calm Down The Ukraine Crisis, Finally
On Thursday, diplomats reached an agreement to defuse the crisis in Ukraine precipitated by Russia's annexation of Crimea. The agreement was reached between Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union in Geneva. The pact aims to defuse the bands of pro-Russian demonstrators who have taken over buildings in Ukraine.
The text of the agreement was released to the Times on Thursday. It requires that the pro-Russian protestors get out of Ukrainian government buildings.
All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.
The pact doesn't require that Russia get rid of its 40,000 troops currently sitting on the border with Ukraine, though President Obama has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to remove them.
The agreement grants amnesty to protestors who "have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes." It also encourages an open and inclusive constitutional process along with the de-escalation measures, which will be overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.
The crisis in Ukraine has been escalating since Russia moved to annex the Crimean peninsula in late February. Earlier on Thursday, Putin had seemed to indicate Russia might use force in the country.
We know quite well that we must do our best to protect their rights and help them independently decide their fate and we will struggle for that. I remind you that the Federation Council of Russia empowered the president to use the armed forces in Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a news conference that the crisis was not yet over.
None of us leave here with the sense that the job is done. We do not envision this as the full measure of de-escalation.