12 Sep 2019 20:48

Media hype about alleged U.S. spy Smolenkov prompted by U.S. election campaign - Zakharova

MOSCOW. Sept 12 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry sees the string of media reports on former Kremlin official Oleg Smolenkov, who supposedly turned out to be a U.S. spy, as an element of the upcoming presidential election campaign in the United States, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

"This is classic propaganda. First an aim is set, and then information is adjusted to match it. So what's the aim? There can be no doubt that it's related to domestic politics - after all, the election campaign in the U.S. has started," Zakharova said at a news briefing on Thursday.

"In this particular case, the TV channel tried to shoot at the incumbent U.S. president, but it actually hit the previous U.S. president, since the TV channel assumed that a CIA agent worked in Russia during the Obama rule," she said.

CNN, which published this whole story, "is working purposefully to foment Russophobic sentiments in the U.S., deliberately causing damage to relations between our countries," Zakharova said.

CNN reported on September 9 about an operation staged by U.S. special services to extract a valuable informant from Russia. CNN said its sources said the operation was carried out due to concerns about his possible exposure, particularly, because of President Donald Trump's and his administration officials' negligent handling of classified information. The New York Times also reported about a CIA agent having access to top-level Kremlin officials.

Kommersant said earlier this week, referring to a U.S. government source, that the high-ranking CIS informant who served in the Kremlin and was evacuated from Russia could have been Oleg Smolenkov, who disappeared after travelling to Montenegro along with his family in 2017.