Two US Senators, one from the Democrat and one Republican have had their travel visas denied by the Russian government.
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Democrat Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut has their Russia travel visas to enter and participate in two different events, denied by the government of the Russian Federation.
Senator Johnson, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, was scheduled to travel to Russia as a part of a bipartisan congressional delegation, to speak with a range of Russian government officials, American businesses, civil society organizations, and others.
According to a statement published by senator’s office, the visa has been rejected due to Johnson’s support for a number of pieces of legislation that aim to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in Ukraine and its targeting of dissidents.
“Last Congress, Senator Johnson was one of the lead sponsors of legislation to rename the street in front of the Russian Embassy in Washington after dissident Boris Nemtsov, who was assassinated in 2015. In the last Congress and in the current Congress, Senator Johnson has led Senate resolutions calling for a more robust response to Russia’s aggression in the Kerch Strait in November 2018, as well as sanctions related to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” the statement reads.
At the same time, Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who was also scheduled to be part of the upcoming bipartisan congressional delegation in Russia, had his visa rejected. According to him though he is a tough critic of the Kremlin, it is important to maintain dialogue especially during moments of tension.
“As the owners of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals with the capacity to destroy each other many times over, we have a responsibility to keep the world safe and prevent conflict between the U.S. and Russia. Unfortunately, the Russian government is further isolating their country by blocking our visit and several others in recent months. 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 senator said.
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