Putin promises bright future for Russian spies after US swap

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, said yesterday that he had met Russian spies swapped in an exchange with the US earlier this month, and promised them a bright future in Russia.

Mr Putin did not say where he met the spies, but said they sang Soviet songs together and he told them he admired what they did.

"As far as those people are concerned – every one of them had a tough life," he said. "First was to master a foreign language as your own. Think and speak it, and do what are you told to do for the interest of your motherland for many years without counting on diplomatic immunity."

The 10 spies pleaded guilty to being agents for Russia while living undercover in the US in one of the biggest spy scandals since the Cold War.