Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on pardoning four individuals imprisoned in Russia for alleged work for Western intelligence agencies, the Kremlin press service said on Friday.
The pardoned individuals are Alexander Zaporozhsky, Gennady Vasilenko, Sergei Skripal and Igor Sutyagin.
All four have appealed to the Russian president to free them after admitting their crimes against the Russian state, press secretary Natalia Timakova said.
They will be released in exchange for the 10 Russian spy suspects arrested and tried in the United States for failure to register as foreign agents.
Igor Sutyagin, a Russian arms control and nuclear weapons specialist, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in Archangelsk, northwest Russia, in April 2004 for sharing state secrets with U.S. military intelligence.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian colonel, was sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison for spying for Britain. He had allegedly shared information on dozens of his former colleagues operating in Europe undercover, in particular their secret meeting places, addresses, and passwords.
Gennady Vasilenko is a former KGB agent arrested in 1998.
Alexander Zaporozhsky, a former colonel in the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, was sentenced in 2003 to 18 years in prison for espionage on behalf of the United States.
MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti)