“Is there a Brutus in Russia?” tweeted Senator Lindsey Graham on Thursday, calling for someone in Russia to “take out” President Vladimir Putin. Graham’s remarks came as Russia’s forces invading Ukraine attacked and took control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Friday. “The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out,” Graham said. “You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service.”
“The only people who can fix this are the Russian people,” Graham continued. “Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in the darkness you need to step up to the plate,” he wrote. Graham’s comments are “outrageous,” according to Anatoly Antonova, the Russian ambassador to the United States, and they propagate a “degree of Russophobia…off that’s the charts.”
“I find the statement of American politician to be unacceptable and outrageous,” Antonova said. “It is impossible to believe that a senator of a country that promotes its moral values as a ‘guiding star’ for all mankind could afford to call for terrorism as a way to achieve Washington’s goals in the international arena.”
Graham’s remarks, the Russian Embassy in the United States stated, indicate a period when the “fate of the United States” is “becoming terrifying,” and demanded “decisive denunciation” of the senator’s “criminal statements.” This Monday, Graham and three other members of Congress filed a resolution condemning Putin’s administration and military for “committing brazen acts of aggression and other atrocities rising to the level of crimes against humanity and war crimes.” Senators from both parties, including Cory Booker, Marco Rubio, Amy Klobuchar, and Dianne Feinstein, co-sponsored the resolution.
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“One reason history repeats itself is that we fail to learn from the mistakes of the past,” Graham said in a statement about the resolution. “I can only imagine what would have changed if in the 1930s the world had spoken forcefully to condemn Hitler for his atrocities within Germany and surrounding areas. We have a chance to chart a new path with this resolution.”
“There is no rule of law in Russia to hold Putin accountable, so this international tribunal is the right way to go,” he said. “…I want every military commander and every pilot to know in Russia that if you carry out these atrocities against the Ukrainian people, you do so at your own peril. You’re going to wind up in the dark.” Graham has been a vocal critic of Putin, saying on Thursday on “CBS Mornings” that the Russian leader must be held accountable.
Hundreds of people have been slain since the invasion began just over a week ago. According to Ukrainian officials, the death toll has risen to almost 2,000. At least 249 people have been confirmed by the UN, although the true number is likely “considerably higher.”