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By Pavel Polityuk and Thomas Grove KIEV/SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Armed pro-Russian separatists were still holding public buildings in eastern Ukraine on Friday, saying they needed more assurances about their security before they comply with an international deal ordering them to disarm. The agreement, brokered by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union in Geneva on Thursday offered the best hope to date of defusing a stand-off in Ukraine that has dragged East-West relations to their lowest level since the Cold War. Enacting the agreement on the ground though will be difficult, because of the deep mistrust between the pro-Russian groups and the Western-backed government in Kiev, which this week flared into violent clashes that killed several people.
The U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 and its "side scan" sonar has become the focal point of the search some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, where authorities believe Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 hit the ocean after disappearing from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board. The search has centered on a city-sized area where a series of "pings" led authorities to believe the plane's black box may be located. But the Bluefin-21's searches of the largely unmapped ocean floor have been frustrated by an automatic safety mechanism which sends it to the surface when it exceeds a depth of 4.5 km (14,763 feet). On Friday, as searchers waited for the remote-control submarine to return from its fifth mission, the U.S. Navy said the Bluefin-21 had gone to a record depth of 4,695 meters (15,403 feet) in its previous mission.