The Guardian

Russia investigated disappearance of suspected US spy as possible murder

Oleg Smolenkov hadn’t been seen after he went on holiday in 2017, but Russian authorities concluded he had fled abroad
The Kremlin in Moscow in 2018. Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

The CIA Russian spy drama currently gripping Washington has taken a new turn as Russian media reported that a suspected US mole inside the Kremlin was a member of Vladimir Putin’s administration who disappeared in 2017 and was initially thought to have been murdered.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed the man, Oleg Smolenkov, had worked for the Kremlin but played down his importance, insisting he was a low-level employee who had been fired two years ago.

The Russian news site Daily Storm reported in September 2017 that Smolenkov, who had once worked in the Russian embassy in Washington, had not been seen

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