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Russia - US spy swap under way

07-09-2010 08:21 BJT

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The largest Russia-US spy swap since the Cold War appears to be in motion. A Russian convicted of spying for the US has been reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna.

Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms control analyst serving a 14-year sentence for spying for the US, told relatives he was going to be on the swap list.

Russian and US officials refused to comment on a possible swap.

A swap would have significant consequences for efforts between Washington and Moscow to repair ties chilled by a deepening atmosphere of suspicion.

A political analyst believes a swap is likely.

Ninolai Petrov, Political Analyst at carnegie Endowment, said, "I am afraid that we will never learn totally about how exactly it happens, and I am afraid it can be a mixture of both secret services from both sides, to be interested somehow in doing something which is not necessarily in favour of their political leadership. The fact that a solution to the case was found in such a fast way means that there is a political desire to fix the problem and not to develop the scandal, so there is understandable political will from both sides."

In New York, the ten suspects recently accused of being undercover Russian spies pleaded guilty. The ten and an 11th person, who was released on bail by a court in Cyprus and is now a fugitive, were formally charged in a federal indictment.

The defendants are accused of living seemingly ordinary lives in America while acting as unregistered agents for the Russian government, sending secret messages and carrying out orders they received from their Russian contacts.

Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source:

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