Are we about to see a major 'spy swap'?
"Why waste time on all those tedious legal processes and prisons? We get our spies back, and so do you."
Hard for me at least to see why the Russians would want to do this unless the illegals/sleepers rounded up in the USA were likely to spill so many operational beans during their looming long years on trial and then in prison that it is worth Moscow eating great slabs of humble pie to end the agony asap.
Maybe the Americans likewise feel that in fact so many KGB/SVR beans have been spilled already that they can afford to be magnanimous.
However, look at the world from the point of view of the hapless Russian spies.
They have been living agreeable and comfortable lives in leafy US suburbs. Now they face abrupt repatriation to Russia, where they will be regarded as failures and losers for ever.
Plus they face sustained and stressful interrogations from the SVR as the Russian agencies try to find out where it all went wrong - and what they have confessed about Russian operations and methodology.
Gulp. Political asylum bid, anyone?
The more you look at it, the more this looks like a five-star triumph for the Americans in general and the FBI in particular.