lindsey graham kyiv
© SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/GETTYLindsey Graham speaks during a press conference at an open air exhibition of destroyed Russian military vehicles in Kyiv, on May 26, 2023. The senator described U.S. military aid to Ukraine as the "best money we've ever spent" during a meeting with Zelensky.
Footage has emerged of Lindsey Graham describing U.S. military support to Ukraine as the "best money we've ever spent," after noting that "Russians are dying" during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The comments were made on Friday during a visit to Kyiv by the South Carolina senator to express solidarity with Ukraine amidst the ongoing Russian invasion.

The two quotes appear in the video to follow one another. Newsweek has contacted Graham by telephone and voicemail message, asking if anything was cut between the two clips, and whether he stands by the remarks. The Russian Foreign Ministry has also been approached by email.

The United States provided Ukraine with $46.6 billion in military assistance between January 2022 and February 2023, according to the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, with American weaponry playing a key role in the country's defense. However, 2024 Republican frontrunners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis have questioned this level of support, making it vital for Zelensky to shore up support within the GOP.

Clips from the meeting were released by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service, showing Graham and Zelensky having a conversation from across a round table.

Zelensky thanks the senator in English for the support America has provided to Ukraine, before stating: "Free or die, now we are free."

Graham interjects, commenting: "And the Russians are dying."

The video then shifts to a different camera angle, and Graham adds: "Best money we've ever spent."

These comments were condemned by Dmitry Peskov, President Putin's press secretary.

According to Russia's state-controlled TASS news agency, he said: "It's hard to imagine a greater shame for the country than having such senators."

Graham's remarks also sparked a furious response from Maria Zakharova, who heads the press department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a post on Telegram, where she has 521,000 followers, Zakharova repeated Graham's remarks, before claiming the financial investment by American companies into Nazi Germany "led to World War II and the Holocaust."

She continued: "Now, billions of US dollars are pouring into the insatiable throat of the neo-Nazi Kyiv regime. In this regard, I would like to remind the senators and all American beneficiaries how the previous adventure ended."

The Russian state continues to insist Ukraine is ruled by a Nazi regime, despite the country having a Jewish president who was democratically elected. Moscow's claims have been widely dismissed by Western governments and foreign policy experts.

Earlier this week the commander-in-chief of Ukraine's armed forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, posted an emotive video titled, "Time to take back what is ours," depicting Ukrainian troops preparing for battle.

Ukrainian forces are thought to be preparing for a counter-offensive after fighting Russian troops in the Donbas town of Bakhmut for months.

On Sunday the latest intelligence update from the British Ministry of Defence said some "Russian state-backed media and business groups" are calling for a six-day working week for the country, to support the invasion of Ukraine.