Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Said on Monday that he was denied a visa for Russia during a cross-party congressional delegation next week.
Johnson visited Russia in July last year as part of an eight-member delegation. At the time, the Wisconsin Republican and other lawmakers on the trip to the United States were sharply criticized for having taken a conciliatory tone at meetings with officials affiliated with the Kremlin last trip. A spokesman for the senator did not disclose any details when he was asked if the Russian Embassy had given a reason for the refusal.
In a statement, Johnson called the rejection of the visa "a minor insult" and said he had worked with the US Ambassador to Russia's Jon Huntsman Jr. in the hope that "a direct dialogue with Russian parliamentarians could contribute to the Creating conditions for better future relations between our two nations. "
" Unfortunately, Russian officials continue to play diplomatic games with this sincere effort and have denied this. I am coming to Russia, "Johnson said. He pledged "to continue to advocate a strong and determined response to Russian aggression – and if possible, an open dialogue".
Johnson sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairs the panel's Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Co-operation.
] His office announced Monday that Johnson supports a number of laws aimed at "holding Russia accountable for his aggression in Ukraine and the fight against dissidents." Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov.
In his statement, Johnson accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having chosen a path for Russia that "a tragedy of historic proportions" was the US election in 2016 – a subject to which President Trump Putin was reluctant to criticize.
"Instead of bringing in free and fair elections, respecting the rule of law and involving the Russian economy in Western democracies, Putin invaded Georgia, trying to illegally annex Crimea, in which wars raged in Eastern Ukraine, in which thousands were arrested died and supported a barbaric regime in Syria that did so in a war in which hundreds of thousands of people were killed and used chemical weapons.
Early Monday in a press conference concluding the meeting of the Seven in Biarritz, France, Trump announced that he wanted to invite Putin to the United States for the group's 2020 summit. Russia was booted in 2014 after the annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula.
Karoun Demirjian and Michael Birnbaum contributed to this report.