Russia denounced U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham for telling Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Washington’s backing for Ukraine was the best money ever spent and that “the Russians are dying” while visiting Kyiv.
Zelenskiy said that “now we are free” to Graham at a meeting on Friday.
“And the Russians are dying,” Graham said, according to a video supplied by the Ukrainian presidential press service.
In the next part of the video edit, Graham says with a smile: “It’s the best money we’ve ever spent.”
The exact chronology of Graham’s remarks was unclear from the video supplied by the Ukrainian presidential press service.
The Ukrainian president’s office did not immediately reply on Sunday to a request for a full transcript of Graham’s remarks at the meeting.
Russia condemned Graham’s comments.
“It is difficult to imagine a greater shame for a country than having such senators,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the Shot Telegram channel.
Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev called Graham, a 67-year-old Republican, an old fool.
“The old fool Senator Lindsey Graham said that the United States has never spent money so successfully as on the murder of Russians,” said Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev. “He shouldn’t have done that.”
As usual the Russia propaganda machine is hard at work,” Graham told Reuters in an emailed statement on Sunday, referring to Medvedev’s comments about his Kyiv visit, which he had used to urge Washington to send more weapons to Ukraine.
Graham said he had mentioned to Zelenskiy “that Ukraine has adopted the American mantra, ‘Live Free or Die.’ It has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine from Russian war criminals.”
He added, “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,” he said.
Ukrainian presidential adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said in Twitter comments on Sunday that the best investment the United States and the West could make was “in a complete and unconditional victory of Ukraine”.