US Mulls Course on Ukraine: Diplomacy or Weapons

PHOTO: A rebel comforts the wife of a killed civilian in shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 30, 2015.PlayVadim Braydov/AP Photo
WATCH Ukraine: Timeline of a Crisis

The crisis in Ukraine has claimed more than 5,000 lives since the war there began last year.

Now, with fighting raging once again and hundreds more civilians killed in just the past few weeks, the U.S. is joining major European allies in yet another effort to broker a peace deal in the war-ravaged nation.

Watch the video above to see how the Ukraine crisis got where it is today.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Kiev, Ukraine, today, where he made clear that the Obama administration wants to de-escalate the situation rather than increase pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is backing the rebels in eastern Ukraine.

PHOTO: Secretary of State John Kerry and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko talk after their press conference on Feb. 5, 2015 in Kiev, Ukraine.Mikhail Polinchak/Kommersant Photo via Getty Images
Secretary of State John Kerry and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko talk after their press conference on Feb. 5, 2015 in Kiev, Ukraine.

“We are not seeking a confrontation with Russia. No-one is," Kerry said. "We are very hopeful that Russia will take advantage of our broad-based, uniform acceptance of the notion that there is a diplomatic solution staring everybody in the face. That is what we want.”

PHOTO: A Ukrainian soldier holds a weapon as people wait on a bus to leave the town of Debaltseve, Ukraine on Feb. 3, 2015.Petr David Josek/AP Photo
A Ukrainian soldier holds a weapon as people wait on a bus to leave the town of Debaltseve, Ukraine on Feb. 3, 2015.

The leaders of Germany and France are in Kiev, as well, and they will fly to Moscow with a new peace proposal in hand --which the U.S. supports.

But the Ukrainian government wants more weapons right now, not more diplomacy. Their troops have been hammered by rebel forces, backed by what they claim are up to 9,000 Russian troops that have invaded their country. They want anti-tank weapons, surveillance drones and night-vision equipment from the U.S. to retake the initiative on the battlefield.

PHOTO: A Ukrainian man walks through the debris produced after the Ukrainian Army hit a building in Voroshilovsky area, center of Donetsk, Ukraine, Jan. 18, 2015.Manu Brabo/AP Photo
A Ukrainian man walks through the debris produced after the Ukrainian Army hit a building in Voroshilovsky area, center of Donetsk, Ukraine, Jan. 18, 2015.

President Obama, however, is wary of deeper military involvement in Ukraine.

Analysts note that the Russian army supporting the rebels is far stronger than the Ukrainian forces, and there are doubts that U.S. aid would make any real difference.

PHOTO: People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, July 17, 2014. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP Photo
People walk amongst the debris at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine, July 17, 2014.

Meanwhile, the people of eastern Ukraine -- on both sides of the front lines -- suffer terribly in a winter war that shows no signs of ending any time soon.

PHOTO: A woman walks past firemen and burnt houses after shelling in Donetsk, Aug. 16, 2014.Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images
A woman walks past firemen and burnt houses after shelling in Donetsk, Aug. 16, 2014.