Unnamed sources in the Kamchatka regional department of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told Interfax yesterday that Richard Dann Oppfelt had been expelled from Russia May 10 for trying to recruit a Russian naval officer. Oppfelt reportedly attracted attention when he offered money to the officer in exchange for information. Official reports say that the U.S. citizen was expelled from Russia "for activities damaging to the interests of Russian security." Further elaboration was reportedly not forthcoming. (Interfax, May 15) Oppfelt, who has denied the accusations of espionage, is the president of Seattle Medical Export, Inc.
Earlier, an FSB spokesman said in Moscow that Oppfelt had originally been detained by military counterintelligence officers and the FSB at the end of April. (AP, May 12) In a report that remains very much unsubstantiated, a Russian daily said May 14 that Oppfelt had been on the payroll of U.S. special services and that he had gathered information on the activities of the Pacific Fleet’s strategic nuclear submarine fleet. The same report suggested that Moscow had deliberately hushed up the matter to avoid complications with Washington. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, May 14)
Belarus Situation Reverberates Internationally.