Senator Lindsey Graham thinks the best response to a Russian plane allegedly colliding with an American drone is to go on the offensive, despite the West trying for more than a year to avoid outright conflict with Moscow.
“We should hold [Russia] accountable and say that if you ever get near another U.S. asset flying in international waters, your airplane would be shot down,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity Tuesday night.
Tensions rose Tuesday after a Russian jet was accused of clipping an unmanned U.S. drone over the Black Sea. Washington accused Moscow of being reckless and unprofessional. Russia has denied that its plane was involved and demanded the United States cease flights near its borders.
Graham has been unwavering about the need to oppose Russia and help Ukraine fend off Moscow’s invasion—often calling for greater escalation. Last year, Graham suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be assassinated in order to end the conflict.
The South Carolina lawmaker was also one of just three senators (and the only Republican in the group) who visited Ukraine in January, when the South Carolina lawmaker urged the U.S. to send tanks to Kyiv.
But throughout the entirety of Russia’s war in Ukraine, which has now gone on for more than a year, Western countries have been clear that they want to avoid direct conflict with Moscow. Part of the reason why the U.S. was so hesitant to send Kyiv tanks in the first place was because Russia has repeatedly warned that providing tanks to Ukraine would be seen as a major provocation.
Putin also warned in September he would use nuclear weapons in retaliation if “the territorial integrity of our country is threatened.”