After holding talks in Moscow, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Tenn.) invited Russian lawmakers to visit Washington while he also pledged to oppose new sanctions against Russia. An ally of President Donald Trump, Paul said he visited Moscow with the intention of improving bilateral relations. The U.S. and Russia remain at odds over issues such as Syria, Ukraine, and Iran. A Russian delegation is expected to visit the U.S. Capitol, but no date has been announced.
Speaking after a discussion on Monday with the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, Konstantin Kosachyov, Rand said, “We have agreed and we have invited members of the foreign relations committee of Russia to come to the United States to meet with us in Washington. I think this is incredibly important. And those who believe in either country that we should not have diplomacy are greatly mistaken.” Saying that he will continue the dialogue with Russian officials, Paul also met with former Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak. The latter became the source of considerable speculation at the onset of the Trump administration after it was revealed that future Attorney General Jeff Sessions once had a brief meeting with the diplomat.
Paul is opposed to new congressionally-authorized sanctions that was pushed by group of U.S. lawmakers of both parties last week. “There is sanctions hysteria in the United States at the moment. I represent the minority. All the Democrats are now happy that new sanctions are being introduced,” Paul said said according to the RIA news agency. He was quoted as saying: “I can tell you I will try not to allow them to do this with ease.”
Paul was among Trump’s most fervent supporters after Trump was criticized for his performance at a summit meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.