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U.S. confirms completion of spy swap with Russia

07-10-2010 08:15 BJT

WASHINGTON, July 9 (Xinhua) -- The Justice Department on Friday confirmed that the United States and Russia have successfully completed a spy swap in Vienna, Austria.

A Russian aircraft (L) rolls on a runway to prepare for takeoff, as an aircraft of the United States stands on the tarmac, after an exchange of spies at Vienna airport July 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters)
A Russian aircraft (L) rolls on a runway to prepare for takeoff, as an aircraft
of the United States stands on the tarmac, after an exchange of spies at Vienna
airport July 9, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters)

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said in a statement that the exchange of 14 convicted spies from Russia and the United States was completed early Friday.

It was the largest spy swap between the two countries since the Cold War.

Two flights, one from Russia and the other from the United States, landed at the Vienna airport at 11:15 a.m. local time (0915 GMT) and parked side by side on the tarmac.

They took off about an hour and a half later.

The Russian plane was believed to be carrying 10 Russian agents who had been deported from the United States in exchange for four pardoned agents, including nuclear scientist Igor Sutjagin and three double agents.

Russia's Foreign Ministry confirmed the swap in a statement, saying that the trade was based on humanitarian grounds and principled constructive partnership.


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