The phrases of US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, which became the reason for the scandal, were uttered at various points in his conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This is reported by Reuters.
Initially, the press service of the Ukrainian leader published an edited version of the video of the meeting between Graham and Zelensky. In it, immediately after the words of the senator “the Russians are dying” there is a cutaway, after which Graham says “this is the best way to spend our money.”
At the request of Reuters, the Ukrainian authorities provided the full version of the video from the meeting of politicians. The phrase “And the Russians are dying” was said by Graham during a conversation about historical parallels – the senator noted that the struggle of Ukraine reminds him of the heroic moments of American history.
“There was a time when we were like that, fought to the last man, we wanted to either be free or die,” Graham said.
In response, Zelensky said in English that as the Americans became free, so “Ukrainians will be free.” After that, Graham says “and the Russians are dying,” and Zelensky, responding to this remark, says: “Yes, but they came to our territory. We are not fighting on their territory.”
Against this background, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, on behalf of its chairman Alexander Bastrykin, opened a criminal case. “Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia Bastrykin instructed the Main Investigation Department to open a criminal case into the statements of the US senator about the murder of Russians,” the department said.
“Graham Lindsey Olin, American, born July 9, 1955, is wanted under the Criminal Code,” the database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation says.
Graham’s phrase about “the best possible waste of money” was said at another moment when Zelensky thanked him for the American military assistance to Kyiv.
“As usual, the Russian propaganda machine is hard at work,” Lindsey Graham soon told Reuters.
Graham also responded to criticism from Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation. “If you want Russians to stop dying in Ukraine, leave. Stop the invasion. Stop war crimes,” the senator urged.
An abridged version of the video of the meeting between Graham and Zelensky, published the day before, caused indignation between the Russian authorities and the federal media. “It is difficult to imagine a greater shame for the country than to have such senators,” Dmitry Peskov, press secretary of the President of the Russian Federation, commented on the video at the time.
Medvedev even reminded in his Telegram channel about several assassinations of American senators, including Robert Kennedy. “In his beloved America, not only ordinary people are regularly killed, but dirty money is also spent on killing senators,” Medvedev wrote.