US, Russia Plan Spy Prisoner Swap: Lawyer

Russia and the United States are planning a dramatic Cold War-style prisoner exchange that would free members of the alleged Kremlin spy ring for a Russian detainee, a lawyer claimed Wednesday. Russian lawyer Anna Stavitskaya said her client Igor Sutyagin, jailed in 2004 on charges of spying for the United States, had been told he would be released as part of the swap. There was no confirmation or denial from any Russian official of the claim, which came as it was announced cases of some of the alleged Kremlin agents detained in the United States were being sent to New York. "He is going to be exchanged for the people who are being accused of espionage in the United States," Stavitskaya told a news conference. Russian arms expert Sutyagin was convicted in 2004 of handing over classified information to the United States, via a British security company that Russia claimed was a CIA cover, and sentenced to 15 years in jail. Sutyagin's brother Dmitry told the same news conference that Sutyagin would be transferred to Vienna, from where he would fly on to London. A former spokesman for the Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Yury Kobaladze, told Echo of Moscow radio that an exchange would be a "wonderful way out of a very complex situation." But ex-head of the FSB internal security service, Nikolai Kovalev, poured scorn on the idea. "A person who had been forgotten reminded us of his existence," he told the RIA Novosti news agency.