Sen. Rand Paul invites Russian lawmakers to Washington

Lamar Ellis
August 9, 2018

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and USA senator Rand Paul discussed bilateral relations and arms control issues on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The chairman of the Russian worldwide relations committee, Konstantin Kosachev, thanked Paul and said he hoped the meetings could happen before the end of the year. "I consider this to be very important." said Paul, after meeting with Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of Russia's foreign affairs committee.

The senator posted about the meeting on his official Facebook page.

At the conclusion of the hourlong meeting between Paul and Kosachev, Kosachev reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin's claim that his government did not interfere in the 2016 USA election.

Prior to his trip to Russia, Paul wrote in an op-ed for Politico that he'd scheduled the trip partly to "help prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions".

The head of the Russian Foreign Affairs Committee praised the Republican, saying other politicians would refer to talks with Russia as "toxic".

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers back in Washington quickly pointed out in tweets and formal statements that Russian Federation is not a friend of the US and that the president should not accept Putin's word as bond on matters of USA national security.

During the meeting at the Federation Council, Paul said that the United States and Russia "need to have dialogue", adding that the former Cold War foes are "in close proximity" in many hotspots around the world, including in Syria.

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Senator Paul recently defended the president's meeting, citing overlapping interests for both countries. Trump later walked back the remark and said he trusted the USA intelligence community's assessment Moscow did interfere.

Paul has become one of the few defenders of President Donald Trump's controversial summit meeting with Russia's president Vladimir Putin in Finland last month.

Trump has invited Putin to the White House, a move largely panned by lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

He also avoided answering a question about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"Those who believe in either country that we should not have diplomacy are greatly mistaken", he said.

"Of course, Mr. Paul is yet to discuss these ideas with his colleagues after returning to Washington", Kosachyov said.

"We had general discussions about a lot of issues and basically we've decided that right now we will try to is establish a dialogue and solve issues".

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