Kyiv Security Forum

Address of the Honorable Senator Lindsey Graham to the Kyiv Security Forum 2019

11 April 2019, 20:05

Hello, I’m Senator Lindsey Graham, and I really regret I’m not able to be with you at the Kyiv Security Forum.

Let me tell you a story. Of all the travels I had with Senator John McCain, and there were a lot of them all over the world for a long period of time, one stands out. On New Year’s Eve 2016 I was with John and President Poroshenko with Ukrainian marines on the front lines of the struggle for freedom. It was cold, bitterly cold, and John was there letting those in the fight know that America had their back.

That night there was a ceremony where the President awarded medals to the fallen. And one of the most moving moments of any trip I’ve ever had was when John McCain gave an award to the mother of a young lieutenant killed by a Russian sniper. He brought home the price of freedom, the struggle in Ukraine. And one thing I can say about Senator McCain – from day one when Ukraine insisted that it be free, separate and independent, John was on your side. At the major protest in the Maidan he was there, speaking forcefully for freedom, and the ability of Ukraine to self-determine.

When it comes to arm sales, defensive arms, John was the biggest advocate, and I’m glad to say that our policy has changed. He was your loudest and most consistent advocate inside the congress. He made Ukraine America’s struggle.

John McCain of all the people I’ve ever met had a romantic love affair with freedom and democracy. His voice has been silenced but the cause lives through me and others who have been mentored by Senator McСain.

There is a whole generation of American political leaders who are going to fight your fight, to make sure you have an ability to defend yourself, to stand up to Russia until they return land taken by force of arms.

This fight of yours is really the world’s struggle. I hope the West will lend a hand more forcefully than we have in the past. And I do believe that President Trump gets it when it comes to helping our friends in Ukraine.

God bless you. And I can say as one of John’s constant travel companions, greatest admirers, John McCain loved your country, and your country loved John McCain.

God bless.

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