What's a Russian prime minister to do when welcoming back 10 agents who were expelled by the United States? Sing a few patriotic songs with them, of course.
Ten agents whom the United States expelled this month after accusing them of spying recently met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, Putin joined the 10 in singing to live music, CNN confirmed Wednesday.
Among the songs they sang was "From Where the Motherland Begins," Putin told reporters, according to a transcript published on his website late last week.
"I am not kidding you. I am quite serious. And other songs of about the same content," Putin said.
The 10 Russian agents pleaded guilty in the United States this month for failing to register as foreign agents and were ordered out of the country.
The United States and Russia then completed a spy swap, exchanging the 10 agents convicted in the U.S. with four Russians who had been imprisoned for alleged contact with Western intelligence sources.
During his conversation with reporters, Putin pointed out that Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, has said that the uncovering of the 10 agents was due to betrayal. Putin said he knew the names of those who betrayed the 10.
"Traitors always meet with a bad end," Putin said, according to the transcript. "As a rule, they end drunk or drugged - in a ditch. One such person ended his life recently in this way abroad, and no one knows why."
Putin was asked what the 10 would do in Russia.
"They will work," Putin responded. "I'm sure they will be offered good jobs, and they will have an interesting life."