Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonTrump administration floats background check proposal to Senate GOP Republicans wary of US action on Iran Democratic senator warns O'Rourke AR-15 pledge could haunt party for years MORE (R-Wis.) said on Monday that Russia had denied his request for a visa to visit the country next month as part of a congressional delegation. 
 
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 McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE (R-Ariz.) said he "couldn't be more proud" of being hit with sanctions by Moscow.
 
 
Johnson subsequently went to Russia last year as part of a GOP delegation that traveled over the July 4 holiday.