US, Russia Exchange Spies in Vienna

Planes meet in Vienna and swap agents
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2010 5:49 AM CDT
A U.S., front, and a Russian plane, rear, parked on the tarmac at Vienna's Schwechat airport on Friday, July 9, 2010.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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(Newser) – The spies have been swapped, the New York Times reports. US and Russian planes carrying their respective undercover agents landed briefly at a Vienna airport, did a passenger switch, and flew back to their homelands. In return for handing over the 10, the US got four people who had been serving time in Russia. They include arms control researcher Igor Sutyagin.

The AP says the handoff was straight out of a Cold War handbook. The two planes landed within minutes of each other in a remote part of the airport and ended up nose to tail. They were there about 90 minutes before taking off. “This action was carried out in the overall context of improved Russian-American relations," says the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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