Out Of A Tough Day Of Diplomacy, A Surprising Deal On Ukraine

Diplomats from the United States and Europe gathered in Geneva Thursday to discuss how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry and his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union spoke for more than five hours on the issue.

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A deal now that could possibly ease the tensions in eastern Ukraine. The U.S., Europe, Russia and Ukraine came to an agreement that calls on multinational monitors to oversee steps to restore order. The deal would likely delay any new sanctions against Russia. President Obama has already cast doubt on whether the Russian's will cooperate. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has more.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: The agreement calls for protesters on all sides to disarm and leave any buildings and squares they've taken over. In exchange, they will be granted amnesty unless they are found guilty of committing capital crimes. But Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters that protesters must stop the violence.

SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: No more incidents of this kind should occur. And if they do, it will be clear that it will elicit a response.

NELSON: That response, he says, will be directed at Russia, which the U.S. and Europeans blame for stirring up the separatists in eastern Ukraine in the first place. Kerry said the deadline for any progress is this weekend. The deal also requires Ukrainians to stop all intimidation and provocative actions. Kerry spoke of one Ukrainian city where Jews were sent threatening letters ordering them to register and pay special taxes.

KERRY: This is not just intolerable, it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable. And any of the people who engage in these kinds of activities, from whatever party or whatever ideology or whatever place they crawl out of, there is no place for that.

NELSON: Pro-Russian separatists reportedly denied they were responsible for the flyers.

SERGEI LAVROV: (Foreign language spoken)

NELSON: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov agreed with Kerry's sentiments. He said the new agreement should protect all Ukrainian citizens from extremism, racism and anti-Semitism.

LAVROV: (Foreign language spoken)

NELSON: But Lavrov also criticized the Kiev government and its Western backers for failing to protect the rights of Ukraine's Russian minority. He called on the U.S. to make sure Ukraine adopts a fair constitution and grant some autonomy to heavily Russian parts of the country. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Berlin.

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