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 McCainConservative group cuts ties with Michelle Malkin Democratic debate at Tyler Perry's could miss the mark with black voters Donald Trump's 2020 election economic gamble MORE (R-Ariz.) said he "couldn't be more proud" of being hit with sanctions by Moscow.
 
Johnson and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoCentrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid GOP senators discuss impeachment with Trump after House 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 ShaheenProgressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters On The Money: US paid record .1B in tariffs in September | Dems ramp up oversight of 'opportunity zones' | Judge hints at letting House lawsuit over Trump tax returns proceed Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows 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.