U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel back diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine crisis for now; Obama says no decision yet on arming Ukraine. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House against a back drop of war raging in eastern Ukraine. While Obama is facing mounting pressure at home to arm Ukraine in its battle for the east, Obama signaled he has made no such decision yet. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, SAYING: "Now it is true that if in fact diplomacy fails, what I have asked my team to do is to look at all options. What other means can we putter in place to change Mr. Putin's calculus. And the the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that is being examined. But I have not made a decision about that yet." This is in line with the posture of Merkel who speaking through a translator, says she wants a political solution to the crisis. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH through translation) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "We continue to pursue a diplomatic solution, although we have suffered a lot of setbacks. These days we will see whether all sides are ready and willing to come to a negotiated settlement. I have always said I do opt see a military solution to this conflict but we have to put all our efforts to a diplomatic solution." Merkel, along with her French and Ukrainian counterparts, is expected to hold meeting later this week in an effort to end the crisis that has already claimed more than 5,000 lives.