Johnson said he had planned to visit the country to speak with Russian officials, businesses and others in consultation with retiring Russian Ambassador Jon Huntsman. 

"Working with Ambassador 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.

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"Regardless of this petty affront, I will continue to advocate a strong and resolute response to Russian aggression — and frank dialogue when possible," he added.
 
Johnson, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, was expected to go to Russia next week as part of a bipartisan delegation to several countries. 
 
Russia's denial of a visa for the GOP senator isn't the first time the country has lashed out at U.S. lawmakers. After Russian media included his name as part of a list of U.S. lawmakers who had been slapped with a travel ban, then-Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' GOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Overnight Defense: GOP lawmaker takes unannounced trip to Syria | Taliban leader pens New York Times op-ed on peace talks | Cheney blasts paper for publishing op-ed MORE (R-Ariz.) said he "couldn't be more proud" of being hit with sanctions by Moscow.
 
Johnson and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhere do we go from here? Conservation can show the way Senators to meet with Zelensky after impeachment trial GOP senators defend Sondland, Vindman ousters: They weren't 'loyal' MORE (R-Wyo.) announced in 2017 that they had decided to cancel a planned trip to Russia after the Kremlin denied a visa to Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Health Care: Appeals court strikes down Medicaid work requirements | Pelosi's staff huddles with aides on surprise billing | Senate Dems pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Senate Democrats pressure Trump to drop ObamaCare lawsuit Trump under pressure to renew last nuke treaty with Russia MORE (D-N.H.), who, like Johnson and Barrasso, is a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. 
 
Johnson subsequently went to Russia last year as part of a GOP delegation that traveled over the July 4 holiday.