Truce Declared in Ukraine in Wake of Deadly Violence

   < < Go Back
from The Wall Street Journal,

President Says Negotiations to Begin to Halt Bloodshed.

President Viktor Yanukovych bowed to pressure from the West and a widening rebellion at home by agreeing Wednesday to a truce with demonstrators who spent the day staring down riot police across a smoldering no-man’s-land in the center of the capital.

The move away from confrontation came as the U.S. and Europe—blindsided by the violence that left at least 25 people dead—edged toward imposing sanctions on Ukrainian officials they deem responsible for the crackdown.

The hasty threats of retaliation came as Western leaders groped for ways to respond to a more-assertive Russia, which had urged Mr. Yanukovych to get tough on what it termed extremists.

The Obama administration has found itself repeatedly caught off guard by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s moves in places like Syria, Iran and Egypt, or in offering asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

At the same time, months of internal divisions in Europe served to hold up any action on sanctions against Ukraine and undermine Europe’s foreign-policy credibility.

Details of the agreed-upon truce appeared to be sketchy, and the two sides previously have agreed to back away from confrontation only to see fighting flare anew.

More From The Wall Street Journal (subscription required):