US, EU, Russia, Ukraine call for end to violence
The United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union today called together for an immediate halt to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement.
"All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions," said a joint statement released after the four foreign ministers met in Geneva.
"All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated," it added.
The statement also called for a "broad national dialogue" and said that the OSCE monitoring mission should play a leading role in implementing de-escalation measures in coming days.
Separatists attacked a Ukrainian national guard base overnight and Kiev said three of them were killed, the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising.
Given that the United States and other Western countries accuse Russia, which annexed Crimea last month, of being behind the recent unrest in eastern Ukraine, it was not immediately clear what Moscow might do to carry out the steps called for in the joint statement.