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Second senator denied visa to enter Russia

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed New Jersey to halt indoor sports, cap outside gatherings MORE (D-Conn.) said Tuesday that the Russian government denied him a visa to enter the country, making him at least the second senator to be denied a visa this week.

Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement that he had been planning to visit the country as part of an upcoming bipartisan congressional delegation.

“Unfortunately, the Russian government is further isolating their country by blocking our visit and several others in recent months," Murphy said.

"With the collapse of recent arms control agreements and significant domestic opposition to Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin says doctors and teachers will get first COVID-19 vaccines in new immunization campaign Scarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? MORE’s authoritarian rule, this is potentially a perilous moment for our two nations’ fragile relationship, and it’s a shame that Russia isn’t interested in dialogue,” he added.

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Murphy said that because the countries have the "world’s two largest nuclear arsenals with the capacity to destroy each other many times over" they also have a "responsibility to keep the world safe and prevent conflict between the U.S. and Russia."

The Russian Embassy in a tweeted statement called Murphy's assertion that it was isolating itself "nonsense."

"If U.S. legislators favored development of equal inter-parliamentary dialogue with Russia, they would have long hosted their colleagues from the Federation Assembly of the Russian federation on the Capitol Hill," the statement said.

 

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonRepublican frustration builds over Cabinet picks Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus McConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge MORE (R-Wis.), who is also on the Foreign Relations Committee, said on Monday that Russia had also denied his visa request to go to the country as part of a congressional delegation.

"I had hoped direct dialogue with Russian parliamentarians could help set the stage for better future relations between our two nations," Johnson said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Russian officials continue to play diplomatic games with this sincere effort and have denied me entrance to Russia."

Russia has criticized and denied entry to U.S. lawmakers before. Johnson and Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (R-Wyo.) moved in late 2017 to scrap a trip to Russia after they said Moscow denied a visa for fellow Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenTop Democrat calls Trump's Afghan drawdown 'the right policy decision' as others warn of 'mistake' Overnight Defense: How members of the Armed Services committees fared in Tuesday's elections | Military ballots among those uncounted in too-close-to-call presidential race | Ninth US service member killed by COVID-19 Biden wins New Hampshire MORE (D-N.H.).