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The Hill: Senator Graham warns Russia’s ambitions extend beyond Ukraine’s borders

His remarks came after the House passed a significant foreign aid bill, including substantial funding for Ukraine, Israel, and allies in the Indo-Pacific. The bill now heads to the Senate for expected approval.
US Senator Lindsey Graham
US Senator Lindsey Graham in Kyiv on 18 March 2024. Credit: Ukraine’s Presidential Office
The Hill: Senator Graham warns Russia’s ambitions extend beyond Ukraine’s borders

On 21 April, a member of the Republican Party and US Senator Lindsey Graham emphasized the urgency of support to Ukraine, warning Russian leader Vladimir Putin “will not stop,” even if successful in Russia’s war with Kyiv, according to The Hill.

His remarks regarding the threats from Russia came one day after the House passed a massive foreign aid bill after months of division among lawmakers. The package includes nearly $61 billion for Ukraine, with more than a third of these funds ($23.2 billion) actually remaining in the US, as they will be spent on replenishing the US weapons and supplies that have been transferred to Ukraine.

The rest of the funds provided by the bill will be distributed as follows:

  • $13.8 billion will be used to purchase advanced weapons systems, defense products, and defense services for Ukraine;
  • $11.3 billion will be spent on ongoing US military operations in Europe;
  • another $26 million will be used to continue oversight and accountability of the assistance provided to Ukraine.

“Here’s what I will tell you. If you give Putin Ukraine, he will not stop. This is not about containing NATO, and if you give him Ukraine, there goes Taiwan because China’s watching to see what we do,” Graham said during an interview with Fox News.

Graham, who backs Ukraine, was engaged in a conversation about the Senate’s renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s (FISA) surveillance program without warrants for another two years.

This legislation prolongs the government’s authority to conduct surveillance on foreigners outside the country. However, it has come under scrutiny from privacy advocates due to its incidental collection of communications involving Americans with whom they interact.

“I want to know what they’re talking about over there before they kill us here. And if you shut this thing down, you’ve turned the war into a crime.

We’re not fighting our crime, we’re finding a bunch of people who would kill all of us if they could get here. So, when you intercept information from a foreigner overseas talking about America, I want to know what they’re talking about,” said the senator.

Apart from the surveillance program, Graham also claimed the Ukrainian military has destroyed about 50% of the combat power of the Russian armed forces.

“This is the year (of) more. They’re going to have more weapons, but we also want them to have new weapons.

So, this idea ‘give up on Ukraine makes the world safer…’ if you pull the plug on Ukraine cause you don’t have enough capability. There goes Taiwan. Ukrainians are fighting like tigers. So this idea that we can’t help Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan at the same time, I reject that. I reject it totally,” he continued.

On 20 April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to the US House of Representatives for the decision to provide military aid to Ukraine, saying that “democracy and freedom will always have global significance and will never fail as long as America helps to protect it.”

World leaders mirrored Ukraine’s gratitude to the US, with some suggesting that months of delays could have been avoided.

“Ukraine is using the weapons provided by NATO Allies to destroy Russian combat capabilities. This makes us all safer in Europe and North America,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron claimed that with Western support, Ukraine can and will win.

“US House support for $60bn funding for Ukraine is a vital step forward. If Putin ever doubted the West’s resolve to back Ukraine, this shows our collective will is undimmed,” he stated.

EU Council President Charles Michel said the vote is not only about funding, but it “sends a clear message to the Kremlin.”

“Those who believe in freedom and (the) UN charter will continue to support Ukraine and its people,” he stressed.

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