Russian, US spy swap flights take off from Vienna

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Posted: Jul 9, 2010 6:47 AM by Andrea Fontenot
Updated: Jul 9, 2010 10:57 AM
Source: Associated Press

  Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)

Topics: Russia, U.S., flights, spies, Cold War, spy, swap, Vienna, prisoners, Moscow, Washington

Russian and U.S. flights involved in landmark spy swap have taken off from Vienna, signaling the end of an exchange of up to 14 prisoners by Moscow and Washington.

A Russian government plane with 10 agents deported from the U.S. believed on board took off first Friday as part of the largest spy swap since the Cold War.

Just minutes later, a U.S. charter flight apparently carrying four Russians released by Moscow in exchange also left the tarmac.

Both Russia and the U.S. have won admissions of crimes from the subjects of the exchange, signed confessions in Russia and guilty pleas in the U.S.

The deal means freedom for two former Russian intelligence colonels who had been convicted of compromising dozens of valuable Soviet agents operating in the West.

Two others also convicted of betraying Moscow were wrapped into the deal.

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