A Senate Democrat critical of Russia says she was barred from visiting the country, prompting two Republican colleagues to cancel their trips in solidarity.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., planned to travel to Russia on Jan. 11 with Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., before being told she was not welcome.
Johnson and Barrasso reportedly canceled their plans after Shaheen was denied a visa.
"The decision to deny a visa to a member of our Senate delegation is extremely unfortunate and counterproductive to improving relations between our nations," Johnson said in a statement to Politico.
Shaheen supports sanctions on Russia and advocated a ban on Kaspersky Lab software from federal computers. The company is based in Russia and its anti-virus software allegedly was used by Russian hackers to take secret documents from the personal computer of a National Security Agency employee.
Shaheen spokesman Ryan Nickel told Politico that "she regrets the Kremlin decision to impede dialogue between the Senate and the Russian people," but that "she vows to continue her work to hold the Russian government accountable for its actions that go against international norms and against the Russian people."
Six members of Congress were officially sanctioned by Russia in 2014, before fallout from Russia's alleged hacking of Democratic emails during the 2016 election.
Those sanctions, a reciprocal action to U.S. sanctions following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, affect two current lawmakers: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J.