After Zelenskyy "challenged" U.S., White House is sending Ukraine javelin missiles, anti-aircraft systems, ammunition and "switchblade" drones
The White House said that President Biden was "speaking from the heart" about Russian President Vladimir Putin's "barbaric actions" when he called Putin a "war criminal."
A legal review is underway at the State Department to review Russia's actions in Ukraine and whether they constitute war crimes.
Putin's spokesperson called the comment "unacceptable and unforgivable."
Mr. Biden's comment came just hours after he announced an additional $800 million in military assistance going straight from the U.S. to Ukraine – including 9,000 shoulder-mounted javelin missiles, 800 stinger anti-aircraft systems, and more than 20 million rounds of ammunition.
He's also giving Ukraine 7,000 grenade launchers, more guns, and special anti-tank drones known as "switchblades."
"I don't know what a switchblade drone is, but it sounds like it should be going to Ukraine," Senator Lindsey Graham said.
But all that aid still does not fulfill the top requests from Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy.
In an emotional appeal to Congress, Zelenskyy begged the U.S. to help impose a no-fly zone over his country.
"We're a superpower, and Zelenskyy's challenged us to act like it," Senator Ben Sasse said.
But a no-fly zone is something neither the White House nor most of Congress supports for fear it would draw U.S. and NATO pilots into the conflict.
As a fallback, Zelenskyy urged the U.S. to help him secure more MIG-29 fighter jets.
Behind the scenes, U.S. officials are working to get Zelenskyy long-range S-300 Russian-made surface-to-air missiles.
Eastern European countries like Slovakia and Bulgaria have these missiles and Vice President Kamala Harris has been in touch with the Slovakian president, though the White House won't say if they've discussed S-300s. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is traveling to Slovakia and Bulgaria this week.
"CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell traveled to the Ukraine-Poland border as Russia's invasion of Ukraine triggered the fastest refugee displacement crisis in Europe since World War II. O'Donnell shares firsthand accounts from Ukrainian refugees and looks at how NATO is preparing while Russia pushes the war in Ukraine close to Poland's border in the 30-minute documentary "Norah O'Donnell Reports: Crisis in Ukraine," premiering Friday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m. ET on the CBS News app.
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