Russia doesn’t usually take criticism lightly. So when U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham made several comments about the fighting in Ukraine over the weekend, Russia’s Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for him. Graham seems to be embracing the threat.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office released an edited video of Zelenskyy’s Friday meeting with Graham. The Republican South Carolina senator noted that “the Russians are dying.” He also described U.S. military assistance to Ukraine as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”
Graham appeared to have made the remarks in different parts of the conversation. But the short video put them next to each other. The comments caused outrage in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented on the video on Sunday. He declared that “it’s hard to imagine a greater shame for the [United States] than having such senators.”
Russia’s Investigative Committee is the country’s top criminal investigation agency. It moved to open a criminal inquiry against Graham. On Monday, the Interior Ministry followed up by issuing a warrant for Graham’s arrest.
Graham isn’t the only U.S. lawmaker on the outs with Russia. Last year, Moscow banned more than 200 members of the U.S. Congress from entering Russia.
Graham commented about the dispute on Twitter. He tweeted that “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,” he wrote. “I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor.”
Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. — Proverbs 23:9
(U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Appropriations hearing in Washington, D.C., on May 16, 2023. AP/Andrew Harnik)