Separatists Reject Ukraine Deal, Will Not Evacuate Government Buildings

SeparatistsThe US, Russian, Ukraine and the European Union came to an agreement on Thursday in Geneva, Switzerland to put an end to the crisis in Ukraine. The agreement  calls for the pro-Russian separatists to evacuate occupied government buildings and lay down their arms. It also calls for the interim Ukrainian government to restructure its current constitution to allow for more power and financial resources for regions of Ukraine and allow for Russian, Ukrainian and other languages to be spoken. However, separatists in the east do not agree with the agreement signed by Ukraine, Russia, the US and the European Union, saying that regions in the eastern part of Ukraine want full sovereignty from Kiev.

Self-declared separatist leader, Denis Pushilin stated that the agreement signed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lovrov was signed on behalf of the Russian Federation, and in no way represents the will of the people in the eastern part of Ukraine. Pushilin has stated that the pro-Russian faction in Ukraine has no intention of adhering to the agreement unless the Pro-western government in Kiev, which they view as illegitimate, steps down.

Ukrainian President Oleksander Turchynov has criticized the separatists in the east, saying that the, “factions of communists (have) refused to sign or even vote on the document,” and in a joint statement with Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, “We have to do everything possible not to take this treasure of Ukrainian unity from our children.” Further, Yatsenyuk called on the separatists to, “Reach out to each other and give up actions aimed at hatred, and come back to (work toward) rebuilding a united Ukraine.”

The agreement, which weighs heavily on Russian compliance, calls for Russia to wield its influence to get the separatists to evacuate governments buildings and disarm. Acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia has stated that it is a waiting game to see if Russia’s intentions are pure and that they want to de-escalate the situation, saying that while he does not know what Russia’s intentions are, Lovrov did promise that Russia will act to help de-escalate the situation.

The United States has also stated that it is Russia’s responsibility to persuade the separatists to leave government buildings. In a statement made by the US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that Russia can influence the separatists in the east to follow the accord because of “clear and strong” ties between the Russians and Separatists. However, because of Russia’s record of not adhering to agreements to de-escalate, the United States is waiting to see what happens over the next couple of days.

President Barack Obama has also made it clear that while he hopes for an end to the situation diplomatically, there are more options on the table if Russia does not comply, including more sanctions.

If the pro-Russian separatists do not vacate government buildings after the Easter Holiday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned that the government would take more “concrete actions” against the separatists. However, the separatists have made it clear that they have no intention on leaving until their demands are met.

By Nathaniel Pownell

Voice of America

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