US and Russia announce spy swap

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Friday, July 9, 2010

Seal of the SVR, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency
Image: Russian Foreign Intelligence Agency.

The United States and Russia yesterday agreed to the swap of prisoners held by both nations after eleven Russian spies were arrested late last month.

The swap will include the ten Russian spies arrested on US soil (the eleventh was arrested in Cyprus and subsequently escaped) and four spies being held in Russia on charges of espionage. The spies arrested by the US all pled guilty to charges of "conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country." Below are the Russian spies who were convicted (cover names are in quotes, while real names are unquoted):

  • "Richard and Cynthia Murphy"
  • Vicky Paleaz
  • "Juan Lazaro"
  • Anna Chapman
  • Mikhail Zemenko
  • "Michael Zottoli" and "Patricia Mills"
  • "Donald Howard Heathfield" and "Tracy Lee Ann Foley"

The swap reportedly began late yesterday, with Russia beginning the process of releasing at least one of the prisoners they held, Igor Sutyagin, almost immediately. Russian media reported that he had already arrived in Vienna, Austria, although his father said that it was so far unconfirmed.

Russia has so far not confirmed the identities of other prisoners to be released, although several names have been speculated, including Alexander Zaporozhsky, Sergei Skripal, and Alexander Sypachev, all accused of transferring information to foreign governments.

The US arrested the ten spies that are to be returned to Russia as part of its breakup of a long-term spy ring that had operated for years, and involved the spies living as American civilians, some as couples. Prosecutors say that they had been commanded by Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, with the mission of collecting information about American policy.

Related News