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Monday, February 17, 2020

VTB says Geneva agreement sensible, difficult to implement

Geneva hosted talks between foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, the E.U. and the U.S. on Friday, resulting in the production of a signed declaration to prevent violence in Ukraine.

Alexey Zabotkin, a VTB Capital analyst, said the agreement is a sensible exit strategy, though implementation may be more difficult than expected. He said that Ukrainian pro-federalization groups were not part of the talks and the timeline for a constitutional dialogue extends through October 1.

"Hence, it is yet to be seen whether these recommendations from the Geneva declaration will be heeded by the actual actors on the ground," Zabotkin said. "Meanwhile, Ukraine (last week) introduced a ban on the entry of Russian men aged 15-60 years, citing a terrorist threat, and U.S. President Obama approved supplies of more non-lethal equipment to the Ukrainian military."

The declaration said all sides must refrain from the use of violence. The Geneva agreement also bans intimidation, extremism, and religious intolerance, including anti-semitism. It also requires that all illegal armed groups disarm, all seized buildings be freed and all barricades be removed.

Ukraine's government must also commit to an amnesty for everyone, except for individuals found guilty of capital offenses. The government is required to commit to opening an inclusive, transparent and responsible constitutional dialogue.

The foreign ministers agreed to hold an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) special monitoring mission to help implement de-escalation measures.