While it was true Graham said these two phrases ("And the Russians are dying" and "It's the best money we've ever spent") in a conversation with Zelenskyy in May 2023, he did not say them together or in that order. The video representing the remarks in that way had been edited and released by Ukraine's presidential office. In the unedited video, Graham first said, "It's the best money we've ever spent," apparently in reference to U.S. aid to help Ukraine fight Russia in general. Then, around 45 seconds later and after some back-and-forth with Zelenskyy, he said, "And the Russians are dying."
In late May 2023, a video shared on Twitter supposedly showed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham saying, "And the Russians are dying — it's the best money we've ever spent." The clip showed Graham speaking to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a visit to the country on May 26.
"The Russians are dying...it's the best money we've ever spent."
Imagine what the United States' response would be if Russia was saying this about American citizens! pic.twitter.com/cIAIah3ju0
— Jackson Hinkle 🇺🇸 (@jacksonhinklle) May 27, 2023
The South Carolina senator did make these two separate remarks — "And the Russians are dying" and "It's the best money we've ever spent" — during the conversation with Zelenskyy. However, the video presenting the remarks one after the other, and in the alleged order, was edited and released by Ukraine's presidential office, according to The Associated Press. The two phrases were not spoken consecutively by Graham.
According to unedited video footage of the meeting, first, Graham said, "It's the best money we've ever spent," apparently in reference to U.S. aid to help Ukraine fight Russia in general. Then, around 45 seconds later and after some back-and-forth with Zelenskyy, he said, "And the Russians are dying."
The unedited version of Graham's meeting with Zelenskyy was included with a Reuters article after the longer clip was released by Ukraine. In the video, readers can hear the true sequence of Graham's conversation with Zelenskyy.
We transcribed the conversation below below:
Graham: The things you do for your country.
Zelenskyy: Thank you very much for your coming. Thank you very much. Thanks United States, people of the United States for all big support, President Biden, bipartisan support, Congress, and (inaudible) thank you so much.
Graham: Bipartisan support.
Zelenskyy: Yes, it's very important, so we appreciate for... We know that from (inaudible) we have total support. It's $38 billion, and big, big support. Very important.
Graham: It's the best money we've ever spent.
Zelenskyy: Thank you so much.
Graham: Now, we're on four hundred... let's see, this is the 457th day of a war that was supposed to last three days. You amaze me. Your country amazes me.
Zelenskyy: It's about our people and all of your people. Your people help our people ...all our appreciations.
Graham: You remind me of our better selves in America, that there was a time in America that we were this way, fighting until the last person, we're gonna be free or die.
Zelenskyy: Free or die.
Graham: Free or die.
Zelenskyy: Now you are free.
Zelenskyy: And we will be.
Graham: And the Russians are dying.
Zelenskyy: Yes, but they came to our territory.
Zelenskyy: We are not fighting on their territory.
Following the initial release of the edited video, The AP reported that, on May 29, Russia's Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Graham. He responded to that news on Twitter:
Good news: While I don't expect to be tried by Russia anytime soon, I found the services of a great lawyer who works cheap. Sen. Blumenthal, my good friend from Connecticut who has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, has offered to be my lawyer.
Bad news: like every other…
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 29, 2023