Sen. Chris Murphy says Russia has denied him a visa

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut says the Russian government has denied him a visa to enter the country.

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The Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Tuesday he had planned to be part of an upcoming bipartisan congressional delegation.

Murphy has described himself as a "tough critic" of Russia.

Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin planned to be part of the same group and said Monday that he had also been denied a visa.

Murphy says he believes "it's important to maintain dialogue, especially during moments of tension."

He calls it unfortunate the Russian government is "further isolating their country" by blocking this and other visits in recent months.

Johnson had said he had planned to speak with a range of Russian officials, American businesses, civil society organizations and others.