Sen. Chris Murphy said Friday he was disappointed that he and Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., were denied visas to enter Russia as part of a bipartisan delegation traveling there next week, but he wasn't surprised.
"I was there in Ukraine three different times with John McCain during 2013 and 2014 as they were spinning themselves out of Russia's orbit, and I've been critical of their manipulation of the U.S. election and their continued attempts to do so," the Connecticut Democrat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "But at the same time, I was going to Russia not just as a critic, but someone who really believes that the United States and Russia need to have a functional relationship."
And, if someone who has been a critic isn't allowed to enter Russia, but still wants to find common ground, then "I don't know how we repair this situation," Murphy added.
Russia's foreign ministry said Wednesday that Murphy and Johnson "knew well" that they are on a list of officials barred from Russia, because of' "unfounded restrictions against a significant number of members of the Federation Council," Russia's upper parliament chamber."
Murphy on Friday also said he thinks that President Donald Trump's thoughts of withdrawing $250 million in security aid for Ukraine are "disastrous."
"Right now, you have a new president of Ukraine that (Vladimir) Putin is actively testing and the message that the president is sending by teasing the idea of ending our security partnership with Ukraine is really harmful to a new leader there," said Murphy. "But my worry is that we often over obsess over our military partnership with Ukraine...we have to be talking about other forms of assistance rather than just military aid."
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