- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 8, 2010

Details remain murky on Thursday, but all signs indicated that Washington and Moscow had come to terms on carrying out the largest spy swap since the end of the Cold War.

Unconfirmed reports stated that Russia had freed scientist Igor V. Sutyagin, who had been serving a 14-year sentence on charges of spying for the United States, and transferred him to Vienna, Austria, en route to Britain.

Meanwhile, the 10 Russian spy ring suspects who were arrested June 27 in four locations in the U.S. were expected to enter guilty pleas in a New York federal court Thursday and be deported as soon as Thursday night.

An 11th suspect, who had been detained in Cyprus and released on bail, remained unaccounted for after having missed a hearing last week. Christopher Metsos, reputed to be the leader of the spy ring, is believed to have left the island.

Mr. Sutyagin reportedly told relatives that he had seen a list of prisoners in Russia who were to be traded for the Russian spies held in the U.S.

Three names have surfaced as top candidates for s swap:

*Aleksandr Zaporozhsky, a former agent with Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service serving an 18-year sentence on espionage charges.

*Aleksandr Sypachev, who is nearing the end of an eight-year sentence on charges that he spied for the CIA.

*Sergei Skripal, who is serving a 13-year sentence on charges of spying for Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence service.

The largest spy swap between the United States and the Soviet Union involved 29 people and took place 24 years ago, executed dramatically on a bridge between East and West Berlin.

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