Convicted Russian nuclear expert Igor Sutyagin could soon be walking free from jail if America agrees to a Cold War-style spy swap.
Sutyagin was sentenced to 15 years in 2004 for allegedly passing secrets to the West. Now his brother says Moscow is prepared to exchange him for one of the 10 people arrested in the USA last month.
He has always denied he was spying, but his lawyer said, “he has little choice but to accept”.
“Such an atmosphere and such a situation have been created that he cannot refuse the swap. If he did, all his future life would be crossed out,” added Anna Stavitskaya.
Last month the FBI swooped on 10 people they allege were illegally living in the US with false identities and supplying Moscow with information. The authorities are now suggesting giving the 10 a quick trial and expelling them rather than pushing for imprisonment. The Russian foreign ministry has declined to comment on the swap offer.