Russia has issued an arrest warrant for US Senator Lindsey Graham after an edited video surfaced showing him celebrating the death of Russian troops.
The footage, which stitched together two separate moments, was released by President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office after the two met in Kiev on Friday.
In it Senator Graham called aid to Kiev “the best money we ever spent”, noting that Russian troops were “dying”.
A veteran Republican, he said he wears the warrant as a “badge of honor.”
“It gives me great pleasure to know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime,” Senator Graham wrote in a Twitter post on Monday. “I will continue to stand for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”
“Finally, here’s an offer to my Russian friends who want to arrest and prosecute me for calling the Putin regime war criminals: I will submit to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do,” he added.
After Moscow criticized Senator Graham’s comments last week — Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters it was “hard to imagine a greater shame for the country than having such senators” — Ukraine uploaded the full, unedited clip to social media on Sunday.
Footage shows Senator Graham making comments during two separate parts of the meeting.
But Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Senator Graham of trying to shield him from criticism and challenged him to say publicly if his words had been taken out of context.
Russia’s Interior Ministry – which put Senator Graham on a wanted list – did not say what crimes he had committed.
But last week Moscow’s intelligence agency – a federal law enforcement agency equivalent to the US FBI – said it had opened an investigation into “the US senator’s rhetoric about killing Russians”.
Senator Graham is considered one of the most notorious members of the Republican Party on foreign policy issues. The South Carolina lawmaker has been a staunch supporter of aid to Ukraine and has previously accused Moscow of committing “crimes against humanity” during the conflict.
But the 67-year-old is a close ally of former US President Donald Trump, whose own rhetoric on helping Ukraine has been unclear.
Mr Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has consistently said he would end the war within 24 hours if re-elected, but has refused to decide whether Ukraine wants to prevail.