U.S., EU, Russia talks come away with Ukraine de-escalation agreement

By Kyle Johnson,

Talks between Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union ended on Thursday with an agreement in place to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russia Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia came together in Geneva for six hours to discuss a way to end the current crisis, reports Bloomberg.

In a joint statement, the four countries involved said, "The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens."

Some of the steps the four countries agreed upon involve pro-Russia forces returning held eastern Ukrainian buildings, a political reform program instituted and demobilizing militias, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The steps, of which Kerry said Russia has to begin working on over the next few days, will be overseen by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Ukraine has struggled since Russia's annexation of Crimea, doing little more than watching as pro-Russia forces snatched up public buildings close to the eastern border with Russia. Forces were able to take both a police station and security services building in Sloviansk Saturday, following on the heels of buildings in Donetsk and other cities being taken the previous weekend.

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