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US: Ukraine deal could be major step toward peace

February 12, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says a new peace deal between Russia and Ukraine could be a significant step toward peacefully resolving the conflict.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest is calling on all sides to follow through with immediate and concrete steps.

Earnest says the cease-fire must be honored and heavy weapons withdrawn. He’s also calling on Russia to stop supporting the separatists and withdraw its troops and equipment from eastern Ukraine.

The White House says Ukraine’s border with Russia must be restored and that the U.S. is especially concerned about fighting that escalated Thursday despite the agreement.

The deal was hammered out in all-night negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany. Under the deal, Ukraine would trade broad autonomy for eastern Ukraine to reclaim control of its border.

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