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U.S. and Russia complete spy swap
The Russian "sleepers" who were traded in Vienna arrived at Moscow's Domodedovo airport early Friday evening and were whisked away in a convoy of vehicles, including a big, dark blue minivan. Anna Chapman, the redhead whose role in the spy scandal has carried her to celebrity status, called her sister from the runway, saying, "Everything's fine, we've landed," the Russian Web site LifeNews.ru reported.
The 10, arrested on June 27, were expelled after pleading guilty to serving as unregistered foreign agents for Russia. An 11th suspect disappeared after being released on bail in Cyprus.
The U.S. official said that most of the underage children of the "sleeper" agents had been sent to Russia ahead of their parents. "Everyone feels for them. The last thing you want to do is march them out on the tarmac with their parents" in front of TV cameras, he said.
Russia's two main state-run television channels led their evening news programs with brief items about the arrival of the 10 agents. Both channels stressed that the affair is over; neither gave details of where the returned spies had been taken.
The espionage affair has exposed Russia's foreign intelligence service, known as the SVR, to widespread ridicule at home. While investing years and large amounts of money to groom and plant the agents -- seven of whom adopted bogus identities -- the SVR obtained no classified information, U.S. officials said.
The four Russian citizens flown to Britain and the United States were set free under a pardon signed Thursday night by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Sutyagin, the best known of the quartet, was detained by Russian authorities in 1999 while he was working at the USA Canada Institute, a Moscow think tank. He was convicted in 2004 of passing classified information about submarines to a British company, which Moscow alleged was a front for Western intelligence agencies. Sutyagin has always denied being a spy.
Zaporozhsky reportedly retired from the KGB in 1997 after two decades with the service. A year later, he appeared in Washington with his wife and two sons. Russian news reports said he had defected. He returned to Russia in 2001 for what he thought was a KGB reunion and was arrested at the airport.
Zaporozhsky's children still live in the D.C. area.