On Monday, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina expressed an unexpected sentiment on Twitter: pride in an arrest warrant issued against him by Russia. Graham openly declared that he will consider this warrant, a result of his unwavering support for Ukraine, as a “badge of honor.”
The Russian Interior Ministry issued this warrant following a video of Graham’s meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which Ukraine released. The video showcased an edited version of Graham’s statements where he declared, “The Russians are dying,” while referring to American military aid to Ukraine as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”
This video drew immediate criticism from Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who lashed out at Graham, claiming his existence to be a source of disgrace for America.
Unfazed by the backlash or the arrest warrant, Graham stood firm in his convictions. He stated, “To know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy. I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”
Turning the tables, Graham boldly challenged Russia on Twitter, offering to subject himself to the International Criminal Court if Russia agreed to do the same. A defiant invitation for Russia to present its case against him in The Hague, the seat of the International Criminal Court.
After Russia’s outburst, Ukraine released the full, unedited video, demonstrating that the excerpts in question were taken out of context.
However, Graham’s stern support for Ukraine and his intention to stand up to Russian forces were clear. Last Friday, he warned of severe repercussions for the Russian military.
Reflecting on the bravery of Ukrainians, he likened their spirit of resistance to America’s earlier zeal for freedom, stating, “There was a time in America that we were this way, fighting to the last person, we were going to be free or die.”
Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman, attempted to belittle Graham. He suggested that it was ill-advised for Graham to appreciate American expenditure towards the conflict involving Russians.
In response, Graham dismissed these comments as part of the usual Russian propaganda machinery. He asserted that he had praised Ukraine for adopting the American mantra, “Live Free or Die,” and considered U.S. support for Ukraine’s liberation from Russian “war criminals” a good investment.
As a final rebuttal to Medvedev, Graham asserted that the way to prevent further Russian casualties was simple: withdraw from Ukraine and halt the invasion and war crimes. He concluded by suggesting that both Medvedev and Putin lacked concern for Russian soldiers, reflecting his unwavering stance against Russian aggression.