TODAY   |  March 04, 2014

John Kerry arrives in Ukraine

The secretary of state is in Ukraine this morning to confront the crisis there as Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly defended his country’s use of military force in the region. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> diplomat is in eastern europe this morning to confront the crisis in ukraine. however, russia's president publicly defended his use of military force in the region. andrea mitchell joins us on the phone from kiev . andrea, good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. secretary kerry has just arrived in kiev and is walking to light a candle at the shrine in the square for the fallen. he came here with a promise of $1 billion loan guarantees and technical support to help ukraine fight corruption and recover stolen assets, also help its central banks and help it recover from the loss of the energy supplies from russia. but at this time, he says, and his aides say they are trying to give vladimir putin an off ramp from the crisis. despite that, putin's remarks today saying he reserves the right to use force would indicate that he is not taking that. and that he has effectively asserted operational control over crimea without the use of force according to u.s. officials traveling with kerry . right now, we are in the square and kerry is walking to light the candle and this crisis is not easing. natalie.

>> no, it certainly isn't. andrea mitchell this morning in kiev , thank you.