A Russian politician called for the abduction of Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) on Wednesday, during an interview with the Russian state-run television channel Russia 1.
Appearing on Russia 1’s “60 Minutes” program, Duma member and chairman of Russia’s nationalist Rodina party Aleksei Zhuravlyov, openly called for Gallego’s abduction and imprisonment over comments he made about ways to deter a Russian attack against Ukraine. Zhuravlyov’s comments were shared on the Russian state television channel and first reported by The Daily Beast.
Gallego recently returned from a visit to Ukraine and, in an interview with CNN on Sunday, called for President Joe Biden to authorize more sanctions against Russia and send more weapons to Ukraine. Gallego, referring to Ukrainian forces, said his plan “will actually put a toll on the Russian troop movements and, you know, unfortunately, that means we have to kill some Russians.” Gallego added that Russians “only understand pure power, and we have to give the Ukrainian army and special forces the ability to do that.”
Reacting to Gallego’s comments, Zhuravlyov said Russia should surveil the U.S. lawmaker and kidnap him whenever he travels again.
“We should be looking for that bud, and if he travels anywhere–grab him like Bout and bring him over here,” Zhuravlyov said, referring to Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Bout was arrested in Thailand and extradited to the U.S. in 2010 after being caught in a sting operation by the U.S. federal agents, planning to sell weapons to a designated terrorist organization in Columbia.
Zhuravylov said Gallego should be forced to answer for his comments about arming Ukrainian forces to kill Russians. “This is how we should be acting… Spend 25 years in prison and then when you get out—’IF’ you get out—you can tell us whom you wanted to kill.”
“This is how we should be dealing with these bastards,” Zhuravlyov continued. “We can grab him out of Ukraine and there’s nothing they could do, with our capabilities.”
Reacting to Zhuravlyov’s comments, Gallego — who is a U.S. Marine combat veteran who served in Iraq — tweeted, “F–k around and find out” with an emoji of the American flag.
The back and forth exchange comes as Russia has been keeping around 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine for weeks. In November, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia may be trying to “rehash” its 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea. Earlier this month, Blinken said the U.S. has evidence Russia is planning to invade Ukraine.