NEW YORK – The largest Russia-U.S. spy swap since the Cold War appeared to be in motion Thursday, with up to 10 guilty pleas planned in New York by defendants accused of spying for Russia in exchange for the release of convicted Russian spies. A Russian convicted of spying for the United States was reportedly plucked from a Moscow prison and flown to Vienna.
A swap would have significant consequences for efforts between Washington and Moscow to repair ties chilled by a deepening atmosphere of suspicion.
The 10 defendants who entered a New York courtroom for a hearing Thursday afternoon wanted to enter guilty pleas, prosecutor Michael Farbiarz said at the start of the proceeding before Judge Kimba Wood. An 11th person charged in the case is a fugitive after jumping bail in Cyprus