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On the morning of July 7, Reuters Moscow correspondent Guy Faulconbridge broke the news of the spy swap. He reported that Igor Sutyagin —jailed in for passing secrets to a British company that Russian prosecutors said was a front for the CIA—was to be swapped as part of a deal with the United States to bring home the Russian agents. In a hearing held in federal court in Manhattan on July 8, before Judge Kimba Wood , all ten defendants pleaded guilty to a single charge each of secretly conspiring to act as agents of the Russian government.

While the charge could carry up to five years in prison, The Washington Post described the pleas as a first step in what could be the largest prisoner swap between the United States and Russia since the days of the Cold War. On July 9, , Attorney General Eric Holder said none of the ten defendants passed classified information and therefore none were charged with espionage. All the defendants were sentenced to time already served. According to the New York Times , political leaders of the two nations made the deal even before the indictment—with U.

Reuters reported on July 7—8, that the U.

Circle of Spies Series

Shortly before the swap deal was reached, nuclear specialist Igor Sutyagin, one of the Russian prisoners included in the deal, was moved to a Moscow prison from a facility near the Arctic Circle and then flown to Vienna as part of the exchange. Under a U. The Russian prisoners had served a number of years in prison and some were in poor health. On July 9, all ten suspects were deported. The Russian government Yakovlev Yak jet returned to Moscow's Domodedovo airport where, after landing, the ten spies were kept away from local and international press.

Later that day the Russian ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the exchange of four convicted people for ten Russian citizens citing "humanitarian considerations and constructive partnership development. He was arrested in , and sentenced in April to 15 years hard labor on high treason charges. He collected open-source data on Russian nuclear submarines and missile warning systems, analysed and provided it to a British consulting firm. He steadfastly denied using any classified information and ISKAN is said to have no access to Russian classified materials.

The U. Department of State and Amnesty International classified Sutyagin as a political prisoner , not a spy. According to his relatives, Sutyagin phoned home on his arrival in the UK, saying that he was placed in an undisclosed location in a London suburb and that British authorities were in the process of granting him a UK visa. Sergei Skripal was a colonel in Russia's Military Intelligence Service GRU , who was convicted of high treason in and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

In Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury , England. He was sentenced in to 18 years for secret cooperation with the United States.


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He was released as part of the swap after serving seven years. He was a KGB officer who worked for external intelligence and counter-intelligence departments during the s and s. In , presumably having been fingered by a Russian mole in the FBI, Robert Hanssen , [] he fell under suspicion of being a double agent. Vasilenko was not convicted but instead sacked from the KGB. He was arrested in and charged with an attempted murder.

Due to lack of evidence this charge was dropped. Instead, he was sentenced to three years on possession of illegal firearms and explosive materials. According to media reports which cite anonymous sources in Russian intelligence , [] Vasilenko was included in the list for the swap due to a personal request from a CIA officer who knew Vasilenko when he was posted in the U.

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He was sentenced to eight years for spying for the CIA. He was reported to have been considered for a swap [] but was not among the four Russians released. Six other individuals were considered for exchange as an even swap, but were not exchanged in Vienna. While there was speculation that the arrests of the alleged spies, which occurred barely 72 hours after President Medvedev 's White House visit, [] might cast a shadow over President Barack Obama 's effort to improve relations between the US and Russia , on June 30, , the US administration said that it would not expel Russian diplomats and it expressed no indignation that Russia had apparently been caught spying on it.

On June 29, , The Guardian ' s comment said: "Revelations about spy rings are the last thing a politician like Medvedev, who presents himself as a moderniser, needs"; [22] in its July 1, , issue, The Economist wrote: "The revelations have caused embarrassment in Moscow, not so much because Russia was caught spying on America, but because it did it so clumsily. Old KGB spies this week lamented the decline in professional standards. But the scandal has rather more serious domestic implications too. It punctures the mystique that helped allow the security services to gain such clout under Vladimir Putin , Russia's former president and present prime minister and a former KGB spy.

The story discredits him and his circle of siloviki , the former and present members of the security services. Being laughed at is worse than being feared. They were not technically arrested, and relatives could visit them. However, they were not allowed to leave the facility until after the debriefing process, which took several weeks, as the Russian authorities appeared to suspect that betrayal—by any of the agents themselves or not—could be a plausible explanation for their exposure. She turned down a USD per month offer from the Russian government and planned to return to Peru.

On July 13, , Russian intelligence sources were quoted as saying that the deported Russian agents would undergo a rigorous series of tests, including a lie detector, to establish whether any of them acted as a double agent. The spy affair attracted media attention, including Chapman being described as "glamorous" and U.

Vice President Joe Biden joking shortly after the swap on a television chat show to comedian Jay Leno when asked "Do we have any spies that hot? It wasn't my idea to send her back.

In July , while visiting Crimea Ukraine , Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin told reporters, [] [] without specifying the date, that he had had a meeting with the agents, specifically acknowledging that Chapman was among them; he said that they had had "a tough life" and been turned in as a result of "betrayal"; he also sang with the agents to live music some songs, including "From Where the Motherland Begins" What the Motherland Begins With or What Does the Motherland Start With.

The defector former GRU agent, Viktor Suvorov , was scornful of both the agents and the agencies that sent them. In mid-August , Sir Stephen Lander , Director-General of MI5 — voiced an opinion that the very existence of a ring of Russian "illegals" was no laughing matter: "The fact that they're nondescript or don't look serious is part of the charm of the business. That's why the Russians are so successful at some of this stuff.

They're able to put people in those positions over time to build up their cover to be useful. They are part of a machine. And the machine is a very professional and serious one. In October , Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recognized those "Intelligence agents who worked in the United States and returned to Russia in July" together with other members of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service for their service to the motherland in ceremonies held at the Kremlin.

In November , an unidentified Kremlin official told Kommersant [28] that an assassination plan for the alleged defector "Colonel Shcherbakov" was already in the works: "We know who he is and where he is. In November , the Interfax news agency cited an unidentified "Russian intelligence source" as saying that "Colonel Alexander Poteyev, a former deputy head of the U. On May 3, in Moscow, Alexander Poteyev was indicted on high treason and desertion charges and later put on trial in absentia.

In July , new details about the agents' activities were revealed that suggested that some of them planned to recruit their children to become agents. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about Russian spy network in the United States. For the general topic, see Illegal immigration. Main article: Anna Chapman.

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Play media. Mikhail A. Vasenkov Juan Lazaro. Vladimir Guryev Richard Murphy. Lidiya Guryeva Cynthia Murphy.

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Russia portal United States portal. United States Department of Justice. June 28, Retrieved September 20, The Guardian.

Retrieved May 7, Archived from the original on February 16, Retrieved January 31, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved July 7, The Washington Post. Retrieved July 28, Retrieved June 28, Associated Press. CNET News. Retrieved August 18, Retrieved July 25, Retrieved July 26, Herald Tribune. Retrieved November 11, New York Times. New York. Financial Times. Retrieved November 14, November 17, Retrieved November 17, November 15, Retrieved November 16, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 30, In Russian, "Anya" is a diminutive form of the given name Anna.

The Daily Mail. Retrieved June 2, July 5, June 29, Daily Mail. June 30, Retrieved October 18, Saint Petersburg Times. Retrieved June 18, July 13, Anna Chapman 'upset' at Britain's rejection".

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