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VIENNA (AP) — The U.S. and Russia orchestrated the largest spy swap since the Cold War, exchanging 10 spies arrested in the U.S. for four convicted in Russia in a tightly choreographed diplomatic dance Friday at Vienna's airport.
Two planes — one from New York's La Guardia airport and another from Moscow — arrived in Vienna within minutes of each other, parked nose-to-tail at a remote section on the tarmac, then spent about an hour and a half before departing just as quickly. A small bus was seen driving between the two planes.
The swap completed, a Russian Emergencies Ministry Yakovlvev Yak-42 plane left Vienna reportedly carrying the 10 people deported from the U.S. Shortly afterward, a maroon-and-white Boeing 767-200 that brought those agents in from New York took off, apparently with four Russians who had confessed to spying for the West.
No information was immediately available as to the planes' destinations. But the Russian flight was thought to heading for Moscow, while the U.S. charter was likely flying to London.
Vienna has long been involved in such Cold War-like machinations, the capital of neutral Austria being a preferred place to work on treaties and agreements meant to reduce U.S.-Soviet tensions.
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