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NEW YORK (AP) — The largest Russia-U.S. spy swap since the Cold War appeared to be in motion Thursday, with a Russian convicted of spying for the United States reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna. Defense lawyers in the U.S. say they hoped for an immediate resolution for their 10 clients charged with spying for Russia.
A swap would have significant consequences for efforts between Washington and Moscow to repair ties chilled by a deepening atmosphere of suspicion.
Ten people accused of spying for Russia were set to appear at a hearing in New York federal court later Thursday. An 11th person charged in the case is a fugitive after jumping bail in Cyprus.
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms control analyst serving a 14-year sentenced for spying for the United States, had told his relatives he was going to be one of 11 convicted spies in Russia who would be freed in exchange for 11 people charged in the United States with being Russian agents. They said he was going to be sent to Vienna, then London.
In Moscow, his lawyer, Anna Stavitskaya, said a journalist called Igor Sutyagin's family to inform them that Sutyagin was seen walking off a plane in Vienna on Thursday. However, she told The Associated Press she couldn't get confirmation of that claim from Russian authorities.
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