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Talk Grows Of Russia, U.S. Spy Exchange


A police minivan enters Moscow's high-security Lefortovo prison on July 8, when speculation was rife of a spy swap between Moscow and Washington.
Signs appeared to be growing that Russia and the United States were preparing a Cold War-style spy swap to end an espionage scandal that threatened to harm relations.

U.S. lawyers defending one of 10 suspected Russian spies suggested the case might be resolved when they faced formal charges hours later in New York.

"The New York Times" quoted "people who have been briefed on the matter" as saying most or all of the 10 suspects in U.S. custody would plead guilty at their arraignment hearing later today, allowing them to be speedily deported.

Both Russia and the United States declined to comment on the reports.

Meanwhile, reports that Igor Sutyagin, a Russian convicted of spying for the United States, had been flown to Vienna were dismissed by his family as "speculation."

Sutyagin's relatives say he had told them he was going to be one of 11 convicted spies in Russia who would be freed in exchange for 10 people charged by the United States with being Russian agents.

Sutyagin's father, Vyacheslav, denied Russian news agency reports that he had received news of his son's arrival in Austria.

Austria's Foreign Ministry said it could neither confirm nor deny Sutyagin's arrival on its soil.

The FBI arrested 10 alleged members of a Russian spy ring in the United States late last month.

An 11th suspect was arrested in Cyprus but later disappeared.

compiled from agency and other media reports