Allowing a Russian victory in the conflict would deprive America of access to vast mineral resources, Lindsey Graham says FILE PHOTO: US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina). © Getty Images / Kent Nishimura

Washington “cannot afford” to allow Russia to achieve victory in the Ukraine conflict as this would mean losing direct access to vast mineral assets, US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has said.

In an interview with ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS on Sunday, Graham accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being a “megalomaniac” who is attempting to “re-create the Russian Empire by force of arms,” starting with Ukraine. He further claimed that if Moscow wins the current conflict, it will then take over Ukraine’s wealth and share it with China. Graham described that prospect as “ridiculous,” suggesting it would be better if this “gold mine” were available to the US instead.

“They’re sitting on 10 to $12 trillion of critical minerals in Ukraine. They could be the richest country in all of Europe… If we help Ukraine now, they can become the best business partner we ever dreamed of, that $10 to $12 trillion of critical mineral assets could be used by Ukraine and the West, not given to Putin and China,” Graham stated.

This is a very big deal how Ukraine ends. Let’s help them win a war we can’t afford to lose… They’re sitting on a gold mine. To give Putin $10 or $12 trillion for critical minerals that he will share with China is ridiculous.

Graham, a longtime Russia hawk and one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine in the US Senate, also called on the West to speed up the seizure of $300 billion in frozen Russian sovereign assets. He reiterated his demands for Russia to be designated “a state sponsor of terrorism” under US law, a suggestion which earlier this year landed the senator on Moscow’s list of extremists and terrorists.

Western war hawks want Ukraine’s resources – Orban Western war hawks want Ukraine’s resources – Orban

One day prior to Graham’s remarks, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban argued that the West wants Kiev to win the conflict with Russia so that it can control Ukraine’s wealth. In an interview with Hir TV, Orban accused the US and its allies of seeing Ukraine as a potentially huge source of revenue which they will be able to control, provided Russia is defeated. He also said the conflict is a major boost for Western “arms suppliers, creditors, and speculators,” arguing that this is the reason it has dragged on for so long.

Moscow has repeatedly stated throughout the conflict that its goals are to protect the largely Russian-speaking population of Donbass against persecution by Kiev, and to ensure Russia’s own security in light of NATO expansion toward its borders. Moscow has never spoken of any intention to take over Ukraine’s resources, but has repeatedly stressed that the former Ukrainian regions which have chosen to join Russia, including Crimea, must remain under its control. (RT)