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Russia, Ukraine and the West reached a surprise deal Thursday to try to ease the Ukrainian crisis, in a glimmer of hope for the former Soviet republic that risks splitting in two. While not spelt out explicitly, the groups likely referred to pro-Kremlin separatists who have taken over parts of Ukraine's restive southeast. The agreement marked a sharp change from the tone taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in the day, when he left the door open for armed intervention in Ukraine. A ban by Kiev on all Russian males aged 16 to 60 from entering Ukrainian territory had also ratcheted up the pressure, with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov calling the measure "disgusting".