Accord reached on Ukraine

A Ukrainian man attends a pro-Ukrainian demonstration in Donetsk. Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks on Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.  

Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine have agreed on a plan to resolve the crisis in Ukraine through a constitutional reform that would grant more powers to Russian-speaking regions.

After eight-hour talks in Geneva, the Foreign Ministers of the four nations signed a joint statement on de-escalation of the Ukraine crisis.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the document calls for disarmament of all irregular forces and vacation of seized buildings across Ukraine. It also provides for amnesty for all protesters, except those who have committed grave crimes.

Russia, the U.S. and the E.U. have called on Ukraine to launch a broad national dialogue involving all political forces and all regions with the aim of undertaking a constitutional reform.

It was agreed that the constitutional process should be “inclusive, transparent and accountable,” Mr. Lavrov said.

The constitutional reform should provide for “decentralization” of authority, election of regional bodies of power and guaranteeing the language rights of Russian-speakers, Mr. Lavrov said.

The monitoring mission of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which has already been deployed in Ukraine, must play “the lead role” in assisting the Ukrainian authorities to resolve the crisis, Mr. Lavrov stressed.

The plan, at least on paper, has incorporated Russia’s main demands for a settlement in Ukraine.

Mr. Lavrov said he had U.S. assurances that it would see to it that the settlement plan is carried through.

The four-party talks took place against the backdrop of a serious aggravation of the situation in eastern Ukraine.

The anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine is turning deadly on Wednesday, with three people killed and more than a dozen wounded in a puzzling and senseless attack on a military base denounced by protesters as a “provocation”.

The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said its troops late on Wednesday had repelled an attack by pro-Russian forces on a military outpost in Mariupol, a city in Ukraine’s southeast.

Three attackers have been killed and 13 other wounded, the Ministry said. This is the worst violence in Kiev’s four-day military crackdown on protesters in eastern Ukraine.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 7:29:57 PM |

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