US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) took to Twitter to encourage anyone in Russia to "step up to the plate" and assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?" Graham tweeted, referencing the man who betrayed Julius Caesar and helped the Roman Senate assassinate him, as well as referencing the Nazi officer who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in Operation Valkyrie.
"The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out," Graham said, presumably referring to Putin. "You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service."
The only people who can fix this are the Russian people.Easy to say, hard to do. Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness you need to step up to the plate.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 4, 2022
Graham continued by saying "The only people who can fix this are the Russian people. Easy to say, hard to do. Unless you want to live in darkness for the rest of your life, be isolated from the rest of the world in abject poverty, and live in darkness, you need to step up to the plate."
Putin has come under harsh criticism internationally for the recent invasion of Ukraine, which is what Graham was presumably responding to. In fact, Graham has been vocal in his criticism of Putin and the Russian military for their invasion of Ukraine. On Thursday, Graham even introduced a resolution condemning Russia, Putin and Russian commanders "for committing flagrant acts of aggression & atrocities rising to the level of war crimes against humanity & crimes against the Ukrainian people."
Graham is not the only one to, in some way, encourage the assassination of Putin.
Earlier this month, a wealthy Russian businessman Alex Konanykhin offered a $1 million bounty for the arrest of Putin, though he initially uploaded this bounty with the words "Wanted: Dead or alive. Vladimir Putin for mass murder."
Russia's Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov called Graham's remarks "unacceptable and outrageous" and demanded an explanation.
"It becomes scary for the US fate, which is run by such irresponsible and unprofessional politicians. We demand official explanations and a strong condemnation of the criminal statements of this American," Antonov wrote on Facebook.
"I find the statement of the American politician to be unacceptable and outrageous. The degree of Russophobia and hatred in the United States towards Russia is off the scale. It is impossible to believe that a senator of a country that promotes its moral values as a 'guiding star' for all mankind could afford to call for terrorism as a way to achieve Washington's goals in the international arena."
Oddly enough, this is not the only time this week that Graham has come under criticism by foreign governments for seemingly encouraging assassinations of foreign officials.
On Thursday, Iran accused the South Carolina senator of encouraging Israeli assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
This was in reference to a statement Graham recently made in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.
"A lot of Iranian scientists have had a lot of accidents, and we would expect more accidents to come," he said at the time.
In a letter written to the UN Security Council by the Iranian mission to the UN, Graham's remarks were criticized as "Atrocious, hateful, and reprehensible" and urged the Security Council to condemn such "provocative measures," according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.
Israel has been accused of being behind the assassination of top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Farkrizadeh, but has never commented on the allegations.