YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

U.S. Confirms Spy Swap Set for Tuesday : Shcharansky, Others Will Cross Bridge in Berlin to Freedom

February 10, 1986|United Press International

WEST BERLIN — Soviet dissident Anatoly Shcharansky is among the prisoners jailed on espionage charges who will be traded by the East and West in Berlin on Tuesday, a U.S. official confirmed today.

The official told reporters in West Berlin that the exchange will take place Tuesday morning at the Glienicke Bridge, which links the Postdam area of East Germany and the American sector of West Berlin.

The official, who spoke on the condition he not be identified, said details of the prisoner exchange are now complete. Security for the exchange on the western side of the bridge is being jointly handled by the Americans and West Germans, he said.

"It will take place on the bridge. There will be people getting in and out of cars," the official said, giving the first official confirmation that the exchange will take place.

Identities Not Disclosed

Except for Shcharansky, the dissident Soviet Jew jailed in 1978 on charges of treason and espionage, identities of the prisoners to be exchanged will not be disclosed in advance, the official said.

The official refused to say where Shcharansky will go after crossing into the American sector of Berlin or who will be present to greet him. Some details will be provided in an announcement after the swap, he said.

Israel Radio reported that Shcharansky might be flown directly to Israel.

Michael K. Deaver, a close friend of President Reagan and a former White House deputy chief of staff, and Richard Burt, the U.S. ambassador to West Germany, were in West Berlin today, according to U.S. officials. Burt reportedly played a large role in organizing the exchange.

Flying to East Berlin

Official confirmation of the exchange came a day after the Bild newspaper, which first reported that Shcharansky will be freed, said the dissident was being flown to East Berlin today in preparation for the spy swap.

Shcharansky has been promised that his 77-year-old mother, Ida Milgrom, will be freed later, the newspaper said in a report quoting Kremlin sources.

"The timing has not been fixed and she will not in any circumstances be part of a trade with other people," Bild said.

News reports in West Germany on Sunday said as many as 10 people--roughly five from each side--will be exchanged Tuesday at the bridge, scene of several East-West prisoner swaps in the past. In the first such swap in 1962, U.S. U-2 spy plane pilot Col. Francis Gary Powers was traded for Soviet master spy Rudolf Ivanovitch Abel.

Los Angeles Times Articles