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Militants Occupying Buildings In Ukraine Refuse To Leave

Despite the agreement struck in Geneva yesterday, militants in control of some buildings in eastern Ukraine refuse to leave the buildings until the government steps down.

This is starting to sound familiar. Pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine say they will not abide by the agreement struck in Geneva Thursday until the entire Ukrainian government steps down.

CBC News:

Pro-Russian insurgents defiantly refused Friday to surrender their weapons or give up government buildings in eastern Ukraine, despite a diplomatic accord reached in Geneva and overtures from the government in Kyiv.

Denis Pushilin of the self-appointed Donetsk People's Republic told reporters the insurgents in more than 10 cities do not recognize Ukraine's interim government as legitimate and will not leave the buildings until the government resigns. He demanded that Ukrainian leaders abandon their own public buildings.

I think we call that anarchy. It's a standoff, too.

Ukraine has faced months of turmoil, first in Kiev by protesters angry that former President Viktor Yanukovych wanted closer ties with Russia instead of Europe, then in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian supporters. Now many of the buildings in the east occupied by the tacitly Moscow-supported insurgents are in the hands of highly trained gunmen — a situation that has complicated authorities' plans to retake them.

Pushilin said the insurgents would not hand over their weapons until the government halts efforts to reclaim the occupied buildings.

The US is continuing to put pressure on Putin to influence the rebels. BBC:

On Friday, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned that if Moscow failed to uphold the deal a new round of sanctions would focus on what she called "very significant sectors of the Russian economy".

"We believe that Russia has considerable influence over the actions of those who have been engaged in destabilising activities in eastern Ukraine," she told reporters at a news briefing in Washington.

"If we don't see action commensurate with the commitments that Russia has made yesterday (Thursday) in Geneva... we and our European partners remain ready to impose additional costs on Russia."

She added that the US had identified close associates of the Russian leadership as potential targets for new sanctions.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov by telephone on Friday.


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A senior US state department official said Mr Kerry had made it clear "that the next few days would be a pivotal period for all sides to implement the statement's provisions".

Now we'll wait to see who blinks.

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