Rand Paul invites Russian leaders to Washington, DC, during Moscow trip

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Evie Fordham, DCNF

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul invited Russian leaders to Washington, D.C., after meeting with the country’s lawmakers in Moscow on Monday.

“I am pleased to announced that we will be continuing this contact,” Paul said, according to CNN. “We agreed and we invited members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Russia to come to the U.S. to meet with us in the U.S., in Washington.”

Paul said Russian and U.S. leaders could meet in a neutral country if the U.S. is not ideal, reported CNN.

Former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak was in the meeting with Paul and Russian Foreign Affairs Committee members. Paul also met with lawmakers from Russia’s lower chamber who brought up Maria Butina, an alleged Russian spy currently detained by the U.S., reported Bloomberg. Paul plans to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, reported Bloomberg.

Paul defended U.S. President Donald Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 16 in a Politico op-ed that was published the same day as the leaders’ summit.

“Dialogue is especially important when hundreds of millions of lives are at stake, as in the case in relations between the United States and nuclear-armed Russia,” Paul said. “So I applaud President Trump for both chiding out NATO allies and greeting its expansion with skepticism, and I applaud him for sitting down with President Putin.”

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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