Republican Senator Lindsey Graham pleaded on Thursday for “somebody in Russia” to “step up to the plate” and assassinate President Vladimir Putin, and who would thus do the country and the world “a great service.” The Russian ambassador to Washington has rebuked the remarks, calling them “unacceptable and outrageous.”
The South Carolina senator advocated assassinating Putin during an appearance on Fox News, and cited historic examples of plots to kill famous political leaders, including Julius Caesar and Adolf Hitler.
“Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military?” Graham inquired. “The only way this … ends, my friend, is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.”
Commenting on the remarks, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov called them “unacceptable and outrageous.” He said it showed that “Russophobia and hatred in the United States towards Russia” had gone off-scale and asserted that Graham was de facto advocating an act of terrorism to further Washington’s political goals.
Moscow was fearful for the future of the American nation, considering that people like the senator are at its helm, the Russian diplomat added.
Attempts to kill foreign leaders are not unheard of in US foreign policy. Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro was arguably the most famous example. He was targeted by multiple plots hatched by the CIA, as revealed by the Church Committee in the 1970s.
A more recent example was Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. He was personally targeted by NATO airstrikes during the bloc’s 2011 air campaign to destroy the country’s military and secure a victory for anti-government forces. He was ultimately captured by the rebels after his fleeing motorcade was hit by an airstrike, and was summarily executed.