Lindsey Graham: Trump’s calling Putin a genius was a ‘mistake’

“I think that was a mistake. I think I know what he was trying to say, you know, while going to Donbass. but not. “Let’s make it clear that Putin is not a genius, he is a war criminal,” said Graham, a close ally of Trump.
Graham on Wednesday introduced a non-binding Senate resolution calling for Putin to be held accountable for numerous acts of war, aggression and human rights abuses. The resolution supports a complaint brought by the Ukrainian government against Putin at the International Criminal Court alleging war crimes The Russian invasion of Ukraine. Graham said he hoped the United States would follow suit if it supported the complaint.
Russia was hitting civilian targets and residential areas in recent days, according to open source information and US officials. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky It accused Russia of targeting civilians, including children, and called for an international investigation into the conflict on Sunday.
The International Criminal Court investigates and prosecutes “individuals accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community,” including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The site states.

So far, Graham said he has had some positive conversations with several Democratic senators about the decision and noted that he launched a “phone attack” Wednesday calling on allies, including the British ambassador, and also asking them to support the complaint.

Graham joined a news conference unveiling the bill with Representative Victoria Spartz, an Indiana Republican, who is Ukrainian-American, on Wednesday at the US Capitol.

spartz, who was born in Ukraine, is using her position in Congress to demand tougher sanctions, immediate aid and more military resources, saying the Ukrainian people want more weapons — not troops — because they want to fight the Russians themselves. It also advocates for refugees and draws attention to the horrors of the rapidly unfolding humanitarian crisis.

“The entire international community needs to condemn this,” Spartz said. “This is criminal, this is pure murder.”

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Graham said he expects Russia’s strategy to be “burnt out” as Putin becomes “more desperate” and “as you see that happening, we need to engage international law organizations in support of this complaint.”

“The world has let him slip away for far too long,” Graham added of Putin. “The Russian people have robbed blind, they have killed Russian citizens to maintain an iron grip on the country.”

Graham said there was no way to end this conflict without severe economic sanctions and arming NATO allies Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

“For the Russian people, I doubt you can hear my words, but our battle is not with you, you are a victim of Putin like everyone else, perhaps more than anyone else, and I just wanted to tell you that we understand the difference between the Russian people and Putin, but we will need your help. If justice is on the table, you will have to suffer,” Graham said.

Graham said stopping Putin is critical to sending a strong message to other leaders who may wish to threaten the world’s rule-based order and pose other potential threats to global security.

“If Ukraine falls into Putin’s hands, it will lead to dire consequences for us as a nation,” he said. “China will get a signal that they can take over Taiwan. The Iranians will think we have no will to stop their nuclear ambitions. And vice versa. If the Chinese see the world rally around Ukraine and the rule of law enforced by Putin’s war crimes it probably won’t go to Taiwan.”

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He continued, “History repeats itself, for good and for bad. We tend to forget the lessons of the past. Appeasement of evil doesn’t do well, and we’ve done that for a very long time when it comes to Putin.”

CNN’s Jeff Zelini contributed to this report.

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