U.S. Senator Rand Paul is set to visit Russia next week as part of an effort to promote diplomacy.
The Kentucky lawmaker will lead a U.S. delegation to Moscow on Monday to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov amid deteriorating relations between the two countries.
In a statement released Thursday, Paul’s office said the trip was part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s outreach effort to engage with numerous nations.
“Senator Rand Paul is a proponent of diplomacy and is supporting President Donald J. Trump in engaging around the world,” the statement said. “He looks forward to his meetings.”
Russian media outlets have also reported that Paul will meet with members of the Russian parliament during his time in Moscow.
In an op-ed for Politico last month, Paul revealed his plans for the trip, citing the need to “prevent further, unnecessary escalation of tensions.” The Republican also praised Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
“We will discuss trade, cultural exchanges and how to better work for peace and prosperity in the world,” Paul wrote. “I look forward to consulting with Trump between his visit and mine and to working with diplomats from both countries to have a successful trip and better relationships.”
Paul’s trip will come just one month after a group of Republican senators and House members similarly visited Moscow.
Both Trump and Paul have expressed skepticism over U.S. allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, a point of contention between many Republican and Democrat lawmakers.
“Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as is the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia,” Paul said in his op-ed.
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