U.S. Senator John Kennedy will travel to Russia this week with a delegation of Republican U.S. Senators to "build rapport" with the Eastern European country.
Senator Kennedy spoke with CNN on Thursday about the upcoming trip. According to Kennedy, a delegation of Republican senators was invited by Jon Huntsman, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, to travel to Moscow for a number of "high-level meetings" with Russian officials. The Washington Post reported that Huntsman has been planning a meeting between lawmakers and Russian officials to demonstrate that relations can be improved through efforts like the trip.
Kennedy told CNN that he hopes to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other government officials to establish rapport and talk about common interests and problems. The senator told CNN he hopes to see the state of Russia’s economy for himself.
"There have been reports circulating that the people of Russia are starving because their government is spending all their money on weaponry in Syria; other reports refute that," Kennedy told CNN. "I’d like to know what’s what."
Asked if he would be willing to inquire about the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Kennedy told CNN that he would not want to start an international incident but he does believe in speaking frankly with officials.