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Russia, West reach deal on Ukraine crisis but Obama cautious

Russia, Ukraine and the West reached a surprise deal Thursday aimed at easing the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, but US President Barack Obama cautioned it was uncertain if Moscow would stand by the agreement. The agreement laid out concrete steps to "restore security for all citizens" and crucially urged "all illegal armed groups" to disarm and vacate "seized buildings". While not spelt out explicitly, that was a likely reference to pro-Kremlin separatists who have taken over parts of Ukraine's restive southeast.

Obama's hope in check after Geneva deal

President Barack Obama had a curt assessment of his own administration's latest "breakthrough" in its tangled diplomacy with Vladimir Putin: buyer beware. US officials never held out much hope for talks in Geneva aimed at stemming the chaos in eastern Ukraine that Obama had blamed on Russian support for separatist rebels. But on the face of it, the unexpected agreement between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and United States appeared to address the immediate flashpoints of the latest brushfire in the wider Ukraine crisis.

US to send 'non-lethal' military aid to Ukraine

The United States will send helmets, medical supplies and other non-lethal military aid to Ukraine amid fears of another Russian incursion there, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Thursday. Hagel said he had informed Kiev that President Barack Obama "has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies." The aid includes medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats and water purification units for Ukrainian troops, as well as shelters, small power generators and hand fuel pumps for Ukraine's border security force.

Kerry condemns anti-Semitic leaflet in eastern Ukraine

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned as "grotesque" on Thursday the distribution of leaflets in eastern Ukraine that appeared to call on Jews to register with separatist, pro-Russian authorities. Though purported authors of the flier described it as a crude attempt to discredit them, Kerry said: "Notices were sent to Jews in one city indicating that they had to identify themselves as Jews ... or suffer the consequences.

Russia, West reach deal on Ukraine crisis but Obama cautious

Russia, Ukraine and the West reached a surprise deal Thursday aimed at easing the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War, but US President Barack Obama cautioned it was uncertain if Moscow would stand by the agreement. The agreement laid out concrete steps to "restore security for all citizens" and crucially urged "all illegal armed groups" to disarm and vacate "seized buildings". While not spelt out explicitly, that was a likely reference to pro-Kremlin separatists who have taken over parts of Ukraine's restive southeast.

Obama not sure if Ukraine deal will work

US President Barack Obama said a deal Thursday to de-escalate tensions in Ukraine was a "glimmer of hope" but cautioned he could not be sure if Russia would live up to it. Obama, in a careful response to the apparent breakthrough in Geneva, said he was coordinating with leaders in Europe about further sanctions against Moscow if progress was not evident within days.

Pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine not about to end sit-ins

By Gabriela Baczynska and Aleksandar Vasovic DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Pro-Russian separatists occupying public buildings in eastern Ukraine reacted to an international accord to defuse the crisis on Thursday by saying they would not agree to leave the sites before other major conditions were met.

Russia, West reach surprise deal on Ukraine crisis

Russia, Ukraine and the West reached a surprise deal Thursday to try to ease the Ukrainian crisis, in a glimmer of hope for the former Soviet republic that risks splitting in two. The agreement laid out concrete steps to "restore security for all citizens" and crucially urged "all illegal armed groups" to disarm and vacate "seized buildings". While not spelt out explicitly, the groups likely referred to pro-Kremlin separatists who have taken over parts of Ukraine's restive southeast.

Order for Jews in east Ukraine to register just 'provocation'

Pamphlets ordering Jews in east Ukraine's main city to register sparked a fierce storm of indignation on Thursday, with strident condemnation from Western officials and dire fears of a Nazi-style pogrom -- but were sceptically dismissed by the local chief rabbi as nothing more than "provocation". "What happened of course smells of a provocation. As to who is behind it -- that is an open question," rabbi Pinkhas Vyshedski said in comments published on the website of the Donetsk Jewish community.

Turkish parliament approves law expanding spy powers

Turkey's parliament approved a controversial law on Thursday expanding the powers of the national spy agency and setting prison terms for publishing leaked information as the government fights back against a widening corruption scandal. The new legislation, passed after a heated debate in parliament, is the latest ammunition being deployed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he seeks to push back against the greatest challenge yet to his 11-year rule.
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