On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued by Russia for US Senator Lindsey Graham following his strong remarks regarding the war in Ukraine. Despite this, the Republican Senator from South Carolina stated that he would consider it a “Badge of Honor.” The Kremlin’s Interior Ministry placed Graham on a wanted list shortly after his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv, during which he caused controversy by seemingly suggesting that Russian casualties resulting from US funding were a worthwhile investment. In a modified video of the meeting, released by Zelenskiy’s office, Graham can be heard saying that “the Russians are dying” and praising American military assistance to Ukraine as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”
The comments made by the US Senator were separate and unrelated statements made during different parts of the conversation. However, they were edited together in a brief video clip. In response to these remarks, Russia’s Investigative Committee, which is the country’s leading criminal investigation agency, initiated a criminal investigation against Graham. The specific crime he is suspected of was not specified in the announcement.
To know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 29, 2023
I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.
In a swift response, Graham took to Twitter on Monday to express his defiance, stating, “I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor. To know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy. Finally, here’s an offer to my Russian ‘friends’ who want to arrest and try me for calling out the Putin regime as being war criminals: I will submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do. Come and make your best case. See you in The Hague!”
The original video featuring Graham’s comments sparked significant outrage throughout Moscow, leading the foreign ministry to accuse Western media of attempting to protect the senator from facing the consequences of his statements. The ministry further emphasized that Graham should publicly clarify whether he believes his words were misrepresented in the edited video, thereby addressing any potential distortion of his intended message.
“If US Senator Lindsey Graham considers his words were taken out of context by the Ukrainian regime and he doesn’t actually think in the way presented then he can make a statement on video with his phone,” in a video shared on the messaging app Telegram, Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, made the following statement.
Graham has asserted that his intention was merely to commend the resilience of the Ukrainian people in their resistance against a Russian invasion, highlighting the support provided by Washington in that endeavor.