September 12, 2019 / 1:53 PM / a month ago

Moscow asks U.S. to confirm location of ex-official named as possible spy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has asked the United States via Interpol to confirm the whereabouts of a former Kremlin official who Russian media have said may have been a U.S. spy exfiltrated in 2017, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

Zakharova made the comment after U.S. media reports, confirmed to Reuters by two sources, said a CIA informant in the Russian government had been extracted and brought to the United States in 2017.

Russian daily newspaper Kommersant has said that the official may have been a man called Oleg Smolenkov. He was reported to have disappeared with his wife, Antonina, and three children while on holiday in Montenegro in June 2017.

Zakharova said Russia had opened a criminal case after their disappearance and had now learned via the media that Smolenkov and his family were in the United States.

“Of course this information needs checking via the appropriate channels,” said Zakharova.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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