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US uses ‘CIA spy’ saga as pretext to whip up tensions with Russia, says senior diplomat

Russia's senior diplomat played down the report about a "CIA spy," saying that it did not deserve that kind of attention

MOSCOW, September 12. /TASS/. The report about a "CIA spy" Oleg Smolenkov allegedly working for the Kremlin served as another pretext for Washington to whip up mistrust in relations with Russia, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday.

"This is another attempt to exploit the 'Russian case' and the 'Russian motive' to whip up mistrust for us in the United States," Ryabkov said.

The senior diplomat has played down this report, saying that it did not deserve that kind of attention. "There were deliberations about an alleged link to the so-called Russian meddling in the US election. All this is misguided speculation," he stressed.

Ryabkov has not ruled out that other situations could flare up since the US presidential campaign will gain steam. "They will again search for some Russian 'traces,' some unclear Russian involvement or our complicity in something."

Meanwhile, Russia is only willing to put an end to the process of undermining the relations' foundations and emphasizes that it is important to take a pause, Ryabkov noted, advising those in the US who want sensations to calm down and switch their attention to something else.

The deputy foreign minister stressed that those Washington’s statements could not be called sensational because the US is wasting its time in idle chatter. "Everyone is tired of these 'Russian traces' of various unknown animals, why are they doing this?" he said.

"We will continue efforts towards stabilizing [our relations], no matter who is part of the US administration and the outcome of next year’s election. We have never meddled in any elections, we never had this in mind. It’s strange that Americans cannot understand this," Ryabkov concluded.

CNN reported on September 9 that American intelligence extracted a top spy from Russia in 2017 fearing that the person in question might be compromised. The news channel did not name the agent, only claiming that he was "one of its [US] highest-level covert sources inside the Russian government." In its turn, The New York Times highlighted that this individual held an "influential position that came with access to the highest level of the Kremlin."

The CIA and the White House have castigated CNN’s news report as false. What's more, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said that this disclosure had "the potential to put lives in danger."

Some Russian media outlets reported citing anonymous sources that the individual in question could be someone named Oleg Smolenkov, who had supposedly worked for the Russian presidential administration and Russia’s diplomatic mission in the US.

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday confirmed that Smolenkov had worked for the Russian presidential administration several years ago, but was fired under an internal order.