Russia's Foreign Ministry says that Moscow has asked the international police agency Interpol for help in locating a former Kremlin official who is alleged to have been a CIA informant and who disappeared in 2017.
Speaking at a news conference on September 12, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova did not say when the inquiry was sent to Interpol, but suggested it followed U.S. media reports that said the CIA had extracted a high-level Russian informant in 2017.
Subsequent unconfirmed reports in Russian media have identified the man as Oleg Smolenkov, who worked in the Russian Embassy in Washington and later served as an aide to a top Kremlin foreign policy adviser.
"Two years later, the American media tosses information out there that he is on U.S. territory. It goes without saying that this information demands verification through the appropriate procedural norms," Zakharova said. "With that in mind, Interpol was presented with questions regarding the disappearance of a foreign citizen and his presence on the territory of the United States."
She gave no further information.
After U.S. media first reported on September 9 that a CIA informant had allegedly been moved out of Russia in 2017, Smolenkov’s name surfaced in the Russian newspaper Kommersant as the possible informant.
Public records show that Smolenkov and his wife owned a luxurious home in Stafford, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.
An RFE/RL reporter who visited the home on September 10 found the drapes on the house windows were pulled tight, and only a basketball court was visible in the back. No one answered the door.