Igor Sutyagin, a scientist imprisoned in Russia on espionage charges, was flown to Vienna, Austria, earlier today, two U.S. officials familiar with the case tell NPR.
According to NPR's Dina Temple-Raston, his release marks the first step in what is shaping up to be a complicated spy swap between the U.S. and Russia, the first exchange of foreign agents since the end of the Cold War.
Officials say that, while the details are still being ironed out, there will be a one-to-one swap in which the U.S. will turn over 10 suspected Russian operatives and receive some jailed Russian prisoners in return.
It is unclear who is on the U.S. wish list, and when the prisoners will leave Russia.
On the U.S. side of the ledger, the 10 people rounded up by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week, alleged to be Russian agents, are scheduled to appear in a New York court later today.
Officials say they are expected to plead guilty to the charge of being unregistered foreign agents, then they would be deported to Russia.
The swap could happen as early as this evening, they said.