Updated with new headline and the Foreign Ministry’s formal protest.
MOSCOW, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has lodged an official protest with the US ambassador over an embassy official who Russia says is an undercover CIA officer.
US Ambassador Michael McFaul visited the Foreign Ministry in downtown Moscow on Wednesday morning, having been summoned the day before amid reports that a US diplomat suspected of trying to recruit a Russian security services agent had been detained.
McFaul appeared calm as he got out of the car, and smiled at the reporters waiting outside as he walked to the entrance of the ministry’s vast building. According to information obtained by RIA Novosti, McFaul was received by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
The ambassador left about an hour later without talking to reporters.
The Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying that Russia has lodged an official protest with the United States over the embassy employee.
“The protest was announced to the ambassador,” the ministry said, adding that the alleged spy, Ryan Christopher Fogle, must leave the country as soon as possible.
On Tuesday, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said that Fogle, a US diplomat working as a third secretary in the embassy’s political department, had been detained on the night of May 13 as he attempted to recruit an officer from one of Russia’s special services. Later on Tuesday the diplomat was declared persona non grata.
The US Embassy in Moscow has not commented on the issue yet, while the State Department only briefly confirmed that an officer had been detained and released by Russian officials.