Watch VideoPlay Video
Unconfirmed reports say U.S. and Russian officials met secretively Wednesday in a likely prelude to one of the largest swaps of accused spies in decades.
On the swap list was Igor Sutyagin, a scientist jailed by Russia on espionage charges. He and some other spies convicted by Russia will be exchanged for those Russians recently arrested in the US.
Igor Sutyagin was head of military-technological and military-economic policy sectors within the foreign political research department at the Institute for US and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
A Russian court found him guilty of delivering secret data to employees of the British company Alternative Futures, who were actually working for U.S. intelligence services.
Sutyagin's lawyer, says his client agrees to the swap because he has no other choice and insists he is innocent.
Anna Stavitskaya, Lawyer for Igor Sutyagin, said, "Despite the fact this situation happened and he agreed to a proposal such as this, he emphasized the fact he can not refuse it. This is due to the atmosphere that has been created and it is not realistic to refuse, because if he does this, the rest of his life would be pretty much a write-off."
In addition to Igor Sutyagin, media reports say other spies convicted by Russia may also be on the list of a spy swap for those Russians arrested by the FBI.
The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Federal Penitentiary Service say they have no comment on the reports. A spokesman from the US Embassy is not immediately available for comment.
Last month, 10 people were arrested in the US suspected of spying for Russia. An 11th was detained in Cyprus and later went missing after his release on bail.