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Russia Arrests 2 Suspected Spies

January 29, 2006|From Reuters

MOSCOW — Russian security agents have arrested two spies working for British intelligence, the Interfax news agency said Saturday, citing the former head of Russia's state security service.

Russia on Jan. 22 accused Britain of running a James Bond-style spying operation in Moscow using a receiver hidden in a fake rock to communicate secret information. It named four British Embassy workers as intelligence officers supervising Russian agents.

Nikolai Kovalyov, former head of the Federal Security Service, did not specify whether the two people arrested were linked to the "fake rock" affair. It appeared likely, however, that they were Russians rather than British officials, because diplomats have immunity from arrest.

"Two British spies have been arrested. Of course they are not silent, they are talking," Kovalyov told Russia's NTV television in a program to be aired tonight, Interfax reported.

A spokesman for the FSB said he could neither deny nor confirm the report.

In London, a Foreign Office spokesman said Britain had not been notified and was asking the Russian Foreign Ministry for information.

The Jan. 22 television program said one Russian had been arrested on charges of treason.

President Vladimir V. Putin, himself a former KGB spy, said Wednesday that he had not decided whether to expel the diplomats who were named.

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