Russian spies expected in Moscow on Friday: source

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The Russian spies ordered expelled from the United States in the most dramatic spy swap since the height of the Cold War are expected to return to Russia on Friday, a Russian source said.

A high-ranking Russian official familiar with the situation and speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP the Kremlin agents were expected to arrive in Russia on Friday.

The official declined to offer further details. A foreign ministry spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the ministry would put out a statement shortly.

Russia's Channel 1 broadcast footage showing the Russian spies boarding a plane in an unspecified US location. The television channel said the plane was to leave for Russia.

Local television NY1 in New York reported earlier in the day that the 10 spies were deported from the United States late Thursday.

The spies included Russian Anna Chapman, whose nude pictures and racy sexual history have fascinated tabloids around the world, and Peruvian-American journalist Vicky Pelaez, who admitted to carrying a letter written in invisible ink.

Russia's Kommersant newspaper said Chapman's parents expected to see their daughter in Moscow Friday afternoon.

The deal was the most sensational spy swap since the height of the Cold War. In exchange, Russia agreed to release four people convicted of spying for Western countries.

© 2010 AFP

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