US Senator on Russia’s ‘wanted list’ following harsh remarks

US senator Lindsey Graham on Russia's wanted list

According to Russian media reports using the interior ministry’s database, Russia has put US Senator Lindsey Graham on its wanted list.

Friday saw the release of an edited video of a conversation between US Senator Graham and Volodymyr Zelenskyy in which the senator can be heard saying, “The Russians are dying,” followed by, US support was the “best money we’ve ever spent.”

Ukraine provided a whole video of the exchange after Russia criticised the comments, demonstrating that the two statements were unrelated.

Without mentioning the specific offence Graham was charged with, Russia’s Investigative Committee announced on Sunday that it has launched a criminal inquiry into his remarks.

Numerous US lawmakers and officials have previously received sanctions from Russia, but top officeholders have seldom been sought for arrest.

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By stating that he had applauded the Ukrainian people’s spirit in battling Russia’s invasion with US backing, US Senator Graham disputed Russia’s accusation of his support for Ukraine.

The 67-year-old Republican was referred to as an “old fool” by Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council.

“The old fool Senator Lindsey Graham said that the United States has never spent money so successfully as on the murder of Russians,” Medvedev said. “He shouldn’t have done that.”

In response to Medvedev’s remarks, Graham wrote in an email to the news agency Reuters, “As usual, the Russian propaganda machine is hard at work.”

“Mr. Medvedev, withdraw if you want Russians to stop dying in Ukraine,” he added. “Stop the invasion. Stop the war crimes. The truth is that you and [President Vladimir] Putin could care less about Russian soldiers.”

Graham told Zelenskyy that the Ukrainian opposition reminded him of “our better selves in America” during his visit to Kyiv on Friday. In America, there was a time when we were like this, fighting to the death, determined to either get freedom or perish.

“Now you are free,” Zelenskyy responded, to which Graham replied: “And the Russians are dying.”

“Yes, but they came to our territory. We are not fighting on their territory,” Zelenskyy said.

Since the start of the war in February 2022, the US has provided Ukraine with military support worth a total of $38 billion.

Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, said that Graham’s statements about Russians dying were related to his admiration of US financial support.

“It is difficult to imagine a greater shame for a country than having such senators,” Peskov said.