Sen. Graham Demands Ukrainians Keep Fighting and Pass New Conscription Law

Sen. Graham Demands Ukrainians Keep Fighting and Pass New Conscription Law

In the early days of the war, Graham said Ukraine will ‘fight to the last person’

by Dave DeCamp March 18, 2024 – https://news.antiwar.com/

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) visited Ukraine on Monday and demanded that Ukrainians keep fighting against Russia despite the bleak situation on the battlefield and urged Kyiv to pass a new mobilization law.

Graham sharply criticized Ukraine’s current draft laws, which exempt men under the age of 27 from being forcibly mobilized for combat, although under martial law, men aged 18-60 can’t leave the country.

Ukraine’s parliament passed a bill last year to lower the mobilization age to 25, but it wasn’t signed by President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainian lawmakers are now debating a plan to mobilize 500,000 fresh troops, although it’s unclear if they can conscript that many people, and the idea is very unpopular within Ukraine as war fatigue is setting in.

“I would hope that those eligible to serve in the Ukrainian military would join. I can’t believe it’s at 27,” Graham said, according to The Washington Post. “You’re in a fight for your life, so you should be serving — not at 25 or 27. We need more people in the line.”

Graham said that Ukrainians should continue to fight regardless of how much support they’re receiving from the West. “No matter what we do, you should be fighting. No matter what we do, you’re fighting for you,” he said.

In the early days of the war, Graham said Ukraine should fight to the last Ukrainian. “I like the structural path we’re on here,” Graham said in 2022. “As long as we help Ukraine with the weapons they need and the economic support, they will fight to the last person.”

Two years later, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have been killed and wounded, and there’s no prospect of victory on the battlefield. But Graham and other hawks in the US are still pushing for the war to continue rather than calling for diplomacy.

During his visit to Kyiv on Monday, Graham said he expected the House to ultimately pass the $95 billion foreign military aid bill that includes $60 billion for the proxy war in Ukraine. He also said he favored the idea of loaning Ukraine money, something that was recently floated by former President Trump.

“I was very direct with President Zelensky. You can expect me to always be in your corner, but it’s not unfair for me to ask you and other allies: Pay us back down the road, if you can,” he said. “I think the loan idea is going to be pretty popular, not just among Republicans but also among Democrats.”