The two leaders spoke by phone after Ukrainian President Viktor
Yanukovich and opposition leaders signed a European Union-mediated
"They agreed that the agreement reached today needed to be
implemented quickly, that it was very important to encourage all
sides to refrain from violence, that there was a real opportunity
here for a peaceful outcome," a senior U.S. State Department
official told reporters on a conference call.
The White House said details of the agreement are consistent with
what the United States had been urging, such as a de-escalation of
the violence, constitutional change, a coalition government and
The State Department official warned, however, that the deal remains
"very, very fragile," and said international support will be needed
to help stabilize the country.
"This has been a very tough sell and will continue to be a tough
sell for the opposition to make to those on the streets. This is not
least because of the horrible, horrible violence of the last two
days," the official said.
Putin also emphasized the fragility of the situation and suggested
"radical" opponents of the government were a potential threat to the
Putin "underscored the need to take urgent measures to stabilize the
atmosphere, accenting the importance of work with the radical
opposition, which brought the confrontation in Ukraine to an
extremely dangerous point," the Kremlin said in a brief statement.
Russia has said the West shares blame for the bloodshed because it
encouraged violent opposition groups by failing to condemn their
Tony Blinken, deputy U.S. national security adviser, said in a CNN
interview that the Obama administration had made clear to Ukraine
there would be consequences if the violence continued.
"And I think that had an important impact in getting people to
move," Blinken said. "We've already issued some visa restrictions on
those who were responsible for the violence and repression.
[to top of second column]
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns will go to Kiev early
next week and Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Victoria
Nuland will likely visit in early March to be part of international
support for the implementation process.
Senior U.S. officials had been preparing new sanctions to impose on
Ukraine's government after dozens of people were killed in Kiev
during mass demonstrations this week.
The White House reiterated that those responsible for the violence
must be held accountable.
"We are not ruling out sanctions to hold those responsible for the
violence accountable, especially should there be further violence or
violation of the agreement," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Carney said efforts of the French, Polish and German foreign
ministers as well as U.S. leaders helped bring about the deal. He
added that "Russia witnessed the agreement and ... played an
important role in that respect."
"It is in Russia's interest that Ukraine not be engulfed in violence — Kiev or other places — and that it return to stability, and that
progress be made toward a future in Ukraine that reflects the will
of the Ukrainian people," Carney told a news briefing.
"So it's very important to view this not as a tug-of-war between
East and West or the United States and Russia," he added.
(Additional reporting by Steve Holland, Will Dunham and Steve
Gutterman; editing by G Crosse and Mohammad Zargham)
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