Moscow: Russia could swap a jailed
American spy for one of its high-profile spying suspect
recently detained in the US, according to reports.
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms control and nuclear
weapons specialist with the US and Canada Institute of science
Academy, serving 15 years sentence in prison in Archangelsk,
for sharing state secrets with US military intelligence.
Sutyagin has been brought to Moscow and is kept in
Lefortovo high security prison of the FSB, his lawyer Anna
Stavitsakaya told ITAR-TASS.
Sutyagin, who formerly headed the military technology
and economics department at the Institute, was sentenced in
2004 on the charges of passing classified information to a
British firm, `Alternative Futures`.
According to the Russian Federal Security Service
(FSB), `Alternative Futures` was a cover for US intelligence
and had nothing to do with its declared scientific activities.
His lawyer Stavitsakaya said from Moscow prison
Sutyagin could later be sent to the United Kingdom. She said
her client has agreed for expulsion to the UK in exchange for
one of the suspected Russian spies, although he still claims
"He agreed but he stressed that he could not have
disagreed. Otherwise, his life would be ruined," Stavitskaya
was quoted as saying by state-run Vesti FM radio.
The radio said a spokesman for the Russian Federal
Penitentiary Service has declined to confirm or deny the
report on Sutyagin`s transfer to Moscow prison saying `this
kind of information is confidential`.
The chairman of Russia`s Public committee for
protecting scientists, academician Yuri Ryzhkov, confirmed the
information, RIA Novosti reported.
"Yesterday it became known that he was transferred
to Moscow`s Lefortovo prison, where he held talks with
high-ranking officials," Ryzhkov said citing Sutyagin`s
The alleged 10 members of the Russian spy ring were
arrested in the United States in late June on suspicion of
spying for Russia, and the 11th suspect disappeared after
jumping bail in Cyprus.
Both Moscow and Washington are eager to put the
`unpleasant spy episode` behind them as soon as possible to
keep the recent `reset` on track, a foreign ministry official
here said speaking on the conditions of anonymity.