U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) says his visa was rejected and he was denied entry into Russia, CNN reports.
As CNN points out, Johnson’s alleged rejection comes as tensions between Russia and the U.S. grow over the country’s reported meddling in the 2016 election, as well as America’s recent withdrawal from a nuclear treaty with Russia and the missile tests that both countries conducted afterward. Russia’s annexation of Crimea may have also played a role.
“Working with [Ambassador of the United States to Russia Jon Huntsman], I had hoped direct dialogue with Russian parliamentarians could help set the stage for better future relations between our two nations. Unfortunately, Russian officials continue to play diplomatic games with this sincere effort and have denied me entrance to Russia,” Johnson said in a statement, adding that he vows to “continue to advocate a strong and resolute response to Russian aggression — and frank dialogue when possible.”
As reported by the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says Johnson’s claim that his visa was rejected is “information manipulation.” However, the MFA added that Johnson is indeed on a “stop list” due to his support for anti-Russian legislation. According to the Russian embassy in Washington, Johnson “did not apply for a visa at our Embassy and did not inform about his plans to visit Russia.”
“Johnson’s groundless accusations against Russia leave no doubts — he is not ready for a dialogue, but a confrontation,” the embassy said in a tweet.
According to The Washington Post, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) claimed his entry to Russia was denied as well, saying that the “fragile relationship” between the U.S. and Russia is at a “potentially a perilous moment.”
“While I’ve been a tough critic of the Kremlin, I also believe it’s important to maintain dialogue especially during moments of tension,” Murphy said in a statement. “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.”
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr
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