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Russia and Estonia swap alleged spies

by Melina Jamieson (2018-08-13)


By Jason Bush and David Mardiste

MOSCOW/TALLINN (Reuters) - Russia and Estonia exchanged two men accused of espionage at a remote border post on Saturday in an episode reminiscent of a Cold War spy thriller that follows heightened tensions between the neighbors.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said it handed over Eston Kohver, an Estonian security officer detained by Russia last year, in exchange for Alexei Dressen -- a former Estonian official serving a 16-year jail term for being a Russian spy.

Estonian officials confirmed the swap, which took place at a bridge over the Piusa river in a forested border region a few miles south of Lake Peipus.

"Both sides found a suitable solution," the director of Estonia's Internal Security Service, Arnold Sinisalu, told a televised news conference.

He sat alongside Kohver, who said it was "good to be back in my homeland".