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 McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE (R-Ariz.) said he "couldn't be more proud" of being hit with sanctions by Moscow.
 
Johnson and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoFormer Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi dies after bicycle accident Overnight Energy: Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee | Nevada Democrat introduces bill requiring feds to develop fire management plan | NJ requiring public water systems to replace lead pipes in 10 years Senate panel advances controversial public lands nominee in tie vote 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 ShaheenEquilibrium/ Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Clean power repurposes dirty power CIA watchdog to review handling of 'Havana syndrome' cases Frustration builds as infrastructure talks drag 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.