Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in announcing Tuesday that the government of Russia denied him a visa to enter the country as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation.
“Unfortunately, the Russian government is further isolating their country by blocking our visit and several others in recent months,” said Murphy, a member of the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“With the collapse of recent arms control agreements and significant domestic opposition to Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule, this is potentially a perilous moment for our two nations’ fragile relationship, and it’s a shame that Russia isn’t interested in dialogue,” the Connecticut Democrat added.
Johnson, who also sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairs the panel’s subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, revealed Monday that Russia denied his visa application. The Wisconsin Republican said he intended to meet with Russian lawmakers and members of the business community in an effort to repair ties with the U.S.
“I had hoped direct dialogue with Russian parliamentarians could help set the stage for better future relations between our two nations,” Johnson said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Russian officials continue to play diplomatic games with this sincere effort and have denied me entrance to Russia.”
This is not the first time Russia has blocked a U.S. lawmaker from entering the country.
In December 2017, the Kremlin barred Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), an outspoken backer of a Russia sanctions bill, from obtaining a visa.