Did The US just blink? Perhaps under pressure from Merkel having enough of Obama's "costs", Secretary of State John Kerry just released the following statement...
The United States welcomes the news that the OSCE-led Trilateral Contact Group, supported by Chancellor Merkel and Presidents Hollande, Poroshenko, and Putin, reached agreement on a ceasefire and heavy weapons withdrawal in eastern Ukraine, and on the implementation of the September Minsk agreements. We particularly commend the diplomatic efforts of our European Allies, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, and their teams in making this agreement possible. Actions will be what matter now. The first test of this agreement and the prospects for a comprehensive settlement will be the full implementation of the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons by all parties – by Ukraine, the separatists, and Russia. All the parties must show complete restraint in the run-up to the Sunday ceasefire, including an immediate halt to the Russian and separatist assault on Debaltseve and other Ukrainian towns.
The parties have a long road ahead before achieving peace and the full restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty. The United States stands ready to assist in coordination with our European Allies and partners. We will judge the commitment of Russia and the separatists by their actions, not their words. As we have long said, the United States is prepared to consider rolling back sanctions on Russia when the Minsk agreements of September 2014, and now this agreement, are fully implemented. That includes a full ceasefire, the withdrawal of all foreign troops and equipment from Ukraine, the full restoration of Ukrainian control of the international border, and the release of all hostages.
We also welcome the news that the Government of Ukraine and the IMF have reached an agreement that will allow the IMF to provide Ukraine with $17.5 billion in financial assistance in support of economic reforms. This agreement will enable Ukraine to continue implementing the reforms it needs to build a stronger, more prosperous, democratic future for the people of Ukraine.
So Crimea, which was not mentioned, and whose "annexation" by Russia so infuriated the western leaders, is Vlad's to keep?