Vladimir Putin sang a patriotic song with the Russian spies who were expelled from the United States and promised them a “bright” future, he said today.
Russia’s prime minister said he recently met with the 10 sleeper agents, without saying when or where.
He said they “talked about life” and sang “What Motherland Begins With”, a Soviet song favoured by intelligence officers.
Mr Putin, a former KGB colonel, told reporters in the Ukraine last night the spies had a “very difficult fate” and were uncovered by a betrayal.
But he says the spies will have a “bright, interesting life” in Russia and will work in “decent” places.
The agents were deported in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.
An 11th one escaped police in Cyprus and remains at large.