U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham’s recent comments during his Friday meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky in the war-torn country caused outrage and fury in Moscow, with the head of RT Margarita Simonyan calling for his assassination.
In a video clip of the meeting, Graham’s comments were spliced in a way that made it seem that the Senator stated that the fact that Russians “are dying” in the invasion is “the best money we’ve ever spent.” In fact, Graham said that the U.S. aid to Ukraine—and not specifically the deaths of the Russians—was a valuable investment in global security for the United States.
“Senator [Lindsey] Graham has something to compare with. One of their [US] investments led to World War II and the Holocaust,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed in a statement on Telegram. State TV host Vladimir Solovyov followed Zakharova’s lead on his program, Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, as he angrily exclaimed: “Your dirty American money also fully supported the Nazi regime in Germany! You are a Nazi beast and you’re following in the footsteps of your predecessors. I’ll repeat it once again: you will croak, but the Russian people will live forever!”
On his Telegram account, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev called Graham, “an old fool” and resorted to thinly-veiled threats: “In his beloved America, not only ordinary people are regularly killed, but dirty money is also being spent on killing senators. He should recall the sad fate of Robert Kennedy, Huey Long, Clementa Carlos Pinckney, John Milton Elliott, Wayne Owens and other American politicians.”
Alleviating any doubt about the meaning of Medvedev’s comments, Simonyan went even further during her appearance on Solovyov’s Sunday show. After first acknowledging that Graham’s statements may have been portrayed in a video out of context, Simonyan said that she ordered her staff “to look into it.” She invoked the name of a Soviet Lieutenant General Pavel Sudoplatov, who was involved in several major intelligence operations, including the assassination of Leon Trotsky.
Simonyan ominously pointed out: “If Lady Graham really said that the money for the killing of Russians is the best money the US ever spent… I hope that in our country, the sons or grandchildren of Sudoplatov are alive, his pupils, or the descendants of his pupils. It’s not even hard. We have his address.”
The head of RT explained her bloodlust by the need for retribution: “I have no ill will towards anyone and our religion tells us to forgive, but no one tells us to reward these types of things. When we don’t act in response to these things, it is the same as encouraging them. It causes them to become increasingly more brazen.”
Simonyan, who was one of the most proactive cheerleaders of the invasion, frequently complains about living in the crosshairs of vengeful Ukrainians, which she describes as an “unpleasant” feeling. In turn, she wants an American Senator to fear the arrival of a Russian assassination squad.
Graham’s complete remarks, released by the Ukrainian president’s office, did not link the US aid to Ukraine with the comment that Russians are dying in their failing war. Graham praised the spirit of Ukrainians in successfully resisting a Russian invasion, with aid of the United States.
The U.S. Senator told Zelensky that the Ukrainian resistance reminded him of “our better selves in America. There was a time in America that we were this way, fighting to the last person, we were going to be free or die.” Zelensky replied: “Now you are free—and we will be.” Graham added: “And the Russians are dying.” The Ukrainian president responded: “Yes, but they came to our territory. We are not fighting on their territory.”
Graham later told Reuters, “It has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine from Russian war criminals… Mr. Medvedev, if you want Russians to stop dying in Ukraine, withdraw. Stop the invasion. Stop the war crimes. The truth is that you and (President Vladimir) Putin could care less about Russian soldiers.”