Russia's Interior Ministry has issued an arrest warrant for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham after video surfaced of the Republican hawk telling Ukrainian officials that "Russians are dying" due to US military aid and that "it’s the best money we ever spent."
There are claims that the video released of the Friday meeting in Kiev wherein Graham spoke the words to Ukraine's President Zelensky were edited, however. And yet, it was Zelensky himself that posted the edited clip to his official social media channels.
Russia’s Investigative Committee announced the criminal case against Graham as he "declared the financial involvement of the United States is causing the death of Russian citizens."
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to Graham's provocative statements by saying, "It’s difficult to imagine a greater shame for a country than having such senators" while Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said the Republican Senator is an "old fool."
The arrest warrant and him being placed on a 'wanted list' will of course remain largely symbolic, given Graham certainly won't be traveling to Russian territory or through its airspace anytime in the foreseeable future.
"The Russians are dying. It is the best money we've ever spent."— The Poll Lady (@ThePollLady) May 28, 2023
~ Lindsey Graham, United States Senator laughs while Ukraine President Zelenskyy nods.
On Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry responded to reporting from Reuters which said Graham's remarks were taken out of context:
Reports by Reuters that remarks by US Senator Lindsey Graham (Republican, South Carolina) made during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky may have been taken out of context represent clumsy, shameless excuses, a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry made public on Monday said.
"‘It turns out,’ that's not what Senator Graham said or how he said it. Just like with similar cannibalistic musings by former US President George W. Bush, clumsy, shameful excuses are being bandied about: so, allegedly, the senator’s words were taken out of context, there was some ‘editing’ and so on. Who would have doubted that the politician himself and his spin doctors, such as the top Anglo-Saxon media outlets and news agencies, would, as they say, ‘play dumb.’ What’s next? They will tell us that Lindsey Graham is a product of [artificial intelligence] and doesn’t actually exist?" the Foreign Ministry asked rhetorically. It stressed that this "attempt is doomed to fail." "It is already impossible to clean oneself [and one’s reputation] from the stain of such remarks, even if they were uttered separately," the ministry added.
But again, it was the Ukrainian presidency's office itself that was responsible for the editing and circulating of the remarks in the first place.
Note: it was Ukraine that edited & posted the video that looked like Graham said killing Russians was the best money the US ever spent. After sh%*tstorm, they are now releasing longer version. https://t.co/glsUUUiW1G pic.twitter.com/8JyEMy8sX2— Kelley B. Vlahos (@KelleyBVlahos) May 29, 2023
According to The Hill: "Graham appeared to make the comments in different parts of the conversation, which was edited and posted on Zelensky’s social media account."