The decade's most triggering comedy
Russia issued a warrant on Monday seeking the arrest of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) after the release of an edited video that made it appear the lawmaker was celebrating the United States spending money on the killing of Russians in Ukraine.
After top Russian investigator Alexander Bastrykin ordered criminal proceedings, the Russian Interior Ministry added Graham to its wanted list, according to Russian state news agency TASS.
At issue is a video, released by Ukraine’s presidential office, showing Graham meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy last week. It was edited to show Graham saying, “the Russians are dying,” and then describing how U.S. military aid to Ukraine is “the best money we’ve ever spent,” according to the Associated Press.
“It’s hard to imagine a greater shame for the country than having such senators,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, per Newsweek.
A longer video published by Reuters shows Graham making those comments in reverse order and not directly connecting them as the original clip had suggested.
After making the remarks lionizing the United States’ investment in helping Ukraine fend off the Russian invasion, Graham talked about how Ukrainians remind him of “our better selves in America” fighting for freedom. Zelensky pointed out that Americans are now free and Ukrainians will also be free, to which Graham then noted that “the Russians are dying.”
Despite any confusion, Graham, who has been a staunch critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, celebrated being a wanted man in Russia.
“I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor,” the senator said in a statement on Monday. “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.”
Graham also made an “offer” to Putin, alluding to how the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do,” Graham said. “Come and make your best case. See you in The Hague!”
The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the idea that Graham’s words had been edited to be shown out of context as a “clumsy” excuse, according to TASS. “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 said.