LEAD: U.S., Russia agree on major spy swap deal
Thursday, July 08, 2021 8:59 PM

WASHINGTON, Jul. 8, 2010 (Kyodo News International) --
(Editors: UPDATING)

The United States and Russia agreed Thursday on a major swap deal under which 10 Russians, who were indicted of espionage charges and pleaded guilty, will be traded with four individuals being detained in Russia for alleged espionage activities, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The 10 Russians, including several women, will be immediately expelled from the United States, the department said in a statement, adding that they pleaded guilty Thursday in Manhattan federal court to conspiring to serve as unlawful agents of the Russian government.

It is one of the largest spy swap deals between the two countries since the Cold War.

''A determination to seek a rapid and comprehensive solution was made on national security and humanitarian grounds,'' a senior U.S. official said, adding the deal was ''a significant success.''

The four individuals allegedly made contact with Western intelligence agencies, the department said, but did not provide any details.

The same official revealed that the four served ''lengthy prison terms in Russia'' and some of them were ''in poor health.''

''This was an extraordinary case, developed through years of work by investigators, intelligence lawyers, and prosecutors, and the agreement we reached today provides a successful resolution for the United States and its interests,'' Attorney General Eric Holder said in the statement.

Speculation is rife that the United States and Russia struck a spy swap deal to avoid deterioration of bilateral ties.

 

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