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In the biggest spy swap since the Cold War, 10 Russian agents have been deported in exchange for four people convicted of betraying Moscow to the US. Andrew Dupuis has the details.
The spies departed from New York's LaGuardia airport on Thursday night hours after pleading guilty to conspiracy in a Manhattan courtroom. They were sentenced to time served and ordered out of the country.
Robert Baum, Attorney for Anna Chapman, said, "She pled guilty, acknowledging that she committed a conspiracy to stay in the United States to communicate at the direction or request of the Russian Federation without registering."
Genesis Peduto, Attorney for Juan Lazaro, said, "He had decided to plead guilty. His decision was solely made to protect his family. He understands what he was facing here, now he'll be a free man and he'll go back to, he'll go to Russia. And from there he can go anywhere he want in the world."
In Russia, the Kremlin said President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree pardoning four convicted foreign spies so that they can be exchanged for the 10 US defendants.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the exchange was conducted in the context of "overall improvement of US-Russian ties and giving them new dynamics."
An Obama administration official said the quick and pragmatic arrangement of the spy swap with Russia speaks to the progress that has been made in US-Russian relations.
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