US cautiously welcomes Russia-Ukraine deal: White House

US cautiously welcomes Russia-Ukraine deal: White House

HomeUSForeign Policy Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:26AM

The United States has warily welcomed a brokered ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, the White House said on Thursday.

“The agreement represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict” between the two countries, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Earnest said that the deal negotiated between leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine after marathon talks that ended early Thursday must be implemented by all sides with “immediate, concrete steps to fulfill the commitments”.

He noted that the hostilities must end permanently between the two countries amid a fresh wave of enmity on the ground that could jeopardize the newly-struck deal.

Earners said that Washington is concerned about “the escalation of fighting today, which is inconsistent with the spirit of the accord” that will come into effect on February 15.

Meanwhile, some Congress members showed a tepid reaction toward the deal.

Republican Senator John McCain told AFP that “It’s got more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese,” adding that what happened last year could be repeated and the deal would go ignored again.

“I am unfortunately rather confident it’ll go the way of the Minsk agreement,” he said.

Back in September 2014, Minsk hosted the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk who finally inked a ceasefire deal to end deadly clashes in eastern Ukraine. However, the truce has been violated almost daily by both the Ukrainian military and pro-Russia forces.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence protests there in mid-April 2014.

Violence intensified in May last year after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

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