Sen. Lindsey Graham had a defiant message to Russia after the country’s Interior Ministry on Monday issued an arrest warrant for the South Carolina Republican.
“Here’s an offer to my Russian ‘friends’ who want to arrest and try me for calling out the Putin regime as being war criminals: I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do,” Graham said Monday.
“Come and make your best case. See you in The Hague!”
Graham was referring to The Hague, a city in The Netherlands where the International Criminal Court holds its trials. The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin in March pertaining to the forced transfer of children from Ukraine to Russia.
Graham's comments followed the Russia’s Interior Ministry's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Graham after the senator made comments related to the fighting in Ukraine in a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Graham noted that “the Russians are dying” and described the U.S. military assistance to the country as “the best money we’ve ever spent.”
In response, the editor-in-chief of the Russian-backed English-language news outlet RT News issued a veiled threat by saying they have Graham's address when referring to Pavel Sudoplatov, a Soviet general who was involved in several intelligence operations, including Leon Trotsky's assassination. (Trotsky was slain in Mexico in 1940.)
Graham has sometimes amped up his rhetoric about Putin beyond mere criticism. In March 2022, Graham called for a Julius Caesar-style killing of Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia invaded Ukraine. The White House later pushed back on those comments, stating that it’s “not the position of the United States government.”
On Monday, Graham said he would wear the arrest warrant “as a badge of honor.”
“To know that my commitment to Ukraine has drawn the ire of Putin’s regime brings me immense joy,” Graham said. “I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”