Foros: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday said he had met with spies deported from the US following the largest spy swap since the Cold War and assured them of a bright life in the future.
The 10 individuals were arrested by US law enforcement on June 27 on suspicion of being part of an espionage ring spying for Russia. They were quickly tried and flown out of the US in an exchange for four people convicted of spying in Russia for the West.
"I am sure they will work in decent places, I am sure they will have an interesting and bright life," Putin told a news conference during his visit to Ukraine.
Putin said they sang patriotic songs accompanied by live music and talked about life during the meeting.
Putin, a former KGB officer with experience of working abroad, said the life of a spy is very tough.
"Imagine - they have to master a foreign language as your own, think and speak it, fulfil tasks in the interests of their motherland for many years without counting on diplomatic immunity," Putin said.
According to the US Department of Justice, the deported spies worked in the US since 1990s, but the FBI agents monitored their activities for many years. The US authorities claim the Russian spies never stole any secrets and used open media sources to provide information to their superiors back in Moscow.
Putin reiterated that the Russian spy network had been uncovered as a result of betrayal.
"As I said earlier, this (spy scandal) came as a result of betrayal. They (the betrayers) always end up badly taking to drink or drugs, in a gutter" he said, adding that he knew all betrayers by their names.