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Russia-U.S. spy swap participants phone families
July 11, 2010 / 12:25 PM / 7 years ago

Russia-U.S. spy swap participants phone families

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Two participants in Friday’s Vienna spy swap contacted relatives and said they were well, while no details on the activities of the remaining 12 emerged, according to Moscow press reports on Saturday.

Anna Chapman, the glamorous redhead who achieved Internet fame following her arrest in New York, and Igor Sutyagin, sentenced to 15 years in Russian prison in 2004, both called siblings after the exchange.

“Everything is OK, we have landed,” Chapman told her sister by phone from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Friday, a friend of the family told the Tvoi Den tabloid.

Sutyagin telephoned his brother from a hotel in a small town outside London to say he was evaluating his future.

The comments mark the first tentative steps of newly free participants in the only major U.S.-Russian spy trade since the end of the Cold War.

It remains unclear where many of the 14 will ultimately reside, since some, such as New York City journalist Vicky Pelaez who likely arrived in Moscow on Friday, have few ties to their new home.

Sutyagin told his brother Dmitry that any rumors regarding plans to apply for political asylum in Britain were untrue.

“He doesn’t want to talk about his future so far and wants first to analyze the situation... If you hear from anybody that he intends to appeal for political asylum in Britain or return to Russia, you should know this is untrue,” Dmitry Sutyagin told Interfax.

Igor Sutyagin was sentenced for passing information on Russian weapons systems to a British firm prosecutors said was a front for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Supporters saw him as a political prisoner.

Chapman, also known as Anya Kushchenko, ran a real estate business in New York prior to her arrest.

She also lived in Britain for several years after marrying an Englishman in 2002, and her lawyer indicated she may seek to return there, according to reports in the British press.

Chapman is now divorced.

Reporting by Alfred Kueppers

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