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Moscow contacted Washington over alleged CIA spy

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(FILES) This file photo taken on July 09, 2018 shows the Kremlin in Moscow. – US agents extracted a high-level mole in the Russian government who had confirmed Vladimir Putin’s direct role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election, American media reported. The individual had been providing information to US intelligence for decades, had access to Putin and had sent pictures of high-level documents on the Russian leader’s desk, CNN said. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

Moscow on Thursday said it had questioned Washington via Interpol about the whereabouts of a former Kremlin official identified in US media reports as a CIA spy.

American media reported this week that US agents had extracted a high-level mole in the Kremlin who had confirmed Vladimir Putin’s direct role in interfering in the 2016 presidential election.

The alleged informant was whisked out of Russia in 2017 amid fears he was at risk of exposure.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow had contacted Washington via the international police organisation Interpol.

“A citizen of Russia disappeared on the territory of a foreign state along with his family,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing.

“Questions were put to Washington via Interpol regarding the fact of the disappearance of a Russian citizen and his presence in the US,” she said.

She did not clarify when Moscow had sent the note.

Following the US reports, Russian newspaper Kommersant said the Kremlin official might have been a man named Oleg Smolenkov.

The official had ties to Putin’s top foreign policy advisor Yury Ushakov, Kommersant said.

Smolenkov disappeared with his family while on vacation in Montenegro in June 2017, the report said.

Asked on Thursday whether he knew Smolenkov, Ushakov told reporters: “No comment.”

Zakharova called the US reports “classic propaganda.”

CNN reported that the source had been providing information for decades, had access to Putin and had sent pictures of high-level documents on the Russian leader’s desk.

The informant reportedly confirmed to US intelligence that Putin directed Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, straining superpower relations and casting a cloud over Donald Trump’s stunning victory.

The Kremlin this week said the man had worked there but did not have direct contact with Putin.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo angrily denounced reports detailing the secret exfiltration, saying such reports could put lives at risk.


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