U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Ukraine to show support for the embattled government as the Obama administration weighs sending arms to Kiev to help it fight Russian-backed separatists.

Amid a fast-moving flurry of international diplomacy, Kerry arrived in Kiev on Thursday bringing with him a modest amount of $16.4 million in new U.S. humanitarian aid, but also the potential for lethal weaponry that the country's leaders say they desperately need to defend themselves and turn back renewed rebel pushes in the east.

Officials with Kerry said he would discuss those needs with Ukrainian officials as well as new initiatives to resurrect a moribund ceasefire and resume a political dialogue to end the conflict.