By: Rohith Gutta
June 2 2023
Two remarks made by Graham at different times in different contexts during a meeting with Zelenskyy have been clipped together with a false claim.
Amid the Russia-Ukraine war, U.S. Republican Senator from South Carolina, Lindsay Graham, met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on May 26. Shortly after, a video clip of his meeting with Zelenskyy went viral. On May 28, a Facebook user named ‘Russian American Daily’ shared a collage of two videos — one showing Graham’s meeting with Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials, and the second from Graham’s press meet.
A watermark on the top left corner of the video shows that it was released by Reuters, and attributed to the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service. In the first clip, which is 11 seconds long, Graham is saying, "The Russians are dying" at the five second mark followed by a jump cut after which he allegedly says, "The best money we’ve ever spent" at the six second time stamp.
The second clip from his press meet, which is 26 seconds long. After this clip went viral, Russian authorities criticized Graham and issued an arrest warrant. Graham, however, said he would wear the warrant as a ‘badge of honour.’
However, the video has been edited to make it appear that Graham made the statement, but they were said at different times in different contexts.
The first 11-second clip appears to be taken from a video released initially by the Ukraine government. The video was also posted on Zelenskyy’s official Telegram channel called ‘Zelenskiy/Offical’ on May 26. The video was one minute 15 seconds long, and the same sequence of events can be found from the 00:42-00:38 (receding) timestamp.
It can be seen that while Graham is allegedly saying "the Russians are dying" the shot was from over Graham’s shoulder, and in the next instant, the shot jumps to his front, where he says, "the best money we’ve ever spent."
After the clip went viral, the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service released a longer video of the meeting, Reuters reported. This longer video is one minute 41 seconds long. Reuters also published a longer version of the video on May 29. In this video, Zelenskyy first says, “Now, we are free…and, we will be free…” to which Graham adds, “..and the Russians are dying.”
However, after this, Zelenskyy thanks the U.S. government and U.S. President Joe Biden for helping them in their efforts. It is to this that Graham responds with: “The best money we’ve ever spent.” After this, they continue talking about the war.
This shows that while the comment "Russians are dying" was made in context of the present war situation, while the comment "best money ever spent" was made in the context of the U.S.' aid to Ukraine in the war. The two comments are not directly linked but have been edited together.
While Graham made both the statements attributed to him, he did not, as appeared in the video, make them one after the other. The two remarks are not linked. Therefore, we mark this claim false.