Russia has issued an arrest warrant for US Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent Republican figure, following the release of a manipulated video that seemed to depict him celebrating the deaths of Russian troops.
The video, cleverly splicing together two unrelated moments, was shared by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office after their meeting in Kyiv on Friday.
Unfazed by the warrant, the senior Republican boldly declared that he would wear it as a “Badge of Honor.”
Expressing his delight, Senator Graham took to Twitter, proclaiming, “To know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy”
In the controversial video, Senator Graham referred to the aid provided to Kyiv as “the best money we’ve ever spent” while acknowledging the loss of Russian soldiers.
“I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”
Additionally, he extended an offer to his Russian “friends” who sought his arrest and trial, proposing that he would submit himself to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if they did the same.
Following Moscow’s criticism of Senator Graham’s remarks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov publicly expressed his disdain, stating, “it’s hard to imagine a greater shame for the country than having such senators.”
In response, Ukraine promptly shared the unedited version of the video on social media, revealing that the Senator’s statements were made at separate instances during the meeting and subsequently edited to appear contiguous.
In the first segment, Senator Graham acknowledged the efficacy of US military aid in helping Ukraine withstand Russia’s aggression, lauding it as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”
In a different, unrelated clip, he reflected on initial concerns that Ukraine would succumb to Moscow’s onslaught within three days, highlighting instead that “the Russians are dying.”
Russia’s foreign ministry accused Kyiv of attempting to shield Senator Graham from criticism and demanded that he publicly clarify if his words were taken out of context.
While the specific charges against Senator Graham were not disclosed by Russia’s interior ministry, which added him to their wanted list, Moscow’s Investigative Committee, comparable to the US FBI, announced that it had launched an investigation into “the American senator’s rhetoric regarding the killing of Russians.”
Renowned for his assertive stance on foreign policy matters, Senator Graham has been a staunch advocate for providing aid to Ukraine.
He has previously accused Moscow of committing “crimes against humanity” during the conflict and even sparked outrage in Russia last year by suggesting the assassination of President Vladimir Putin, asserting that it was the only way to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
It is worth noting that Senator Graham is also a close ally of former US President Donald Trump, whose position on aid to Ukraine has been ambiguous.
As the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2024 presidential race, Trump has consistently claimed that he would resolve the conflict within 24 hours if re-elected. However, he has refrained from explicitly stating whether he supports Ukraine’s victory in the ongoing strife.