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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lawyer for Nikitin

OSLO -- President Boris Yeltsin said Tuesday he had reached an understanding with Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland on how to handle the case of a Russian arrested for spying for a Norwegian environmental group.

The solution Yeltsin put forward had two parts. Russia would drop complaints against Norway's Bellona Foundation. It would also grant its imprisoned Russian researcher Alexander Nikitin the freedom, withheld so far, to choose his own lawyer for a spying trial, Yeltsin said.

"I'm not a judge ... I'm higher than a judge," he said with a wry smile.

Yeltsin said Nikitin, 43, would go on trial on spying charges. But he dropped Russia's earlier formal insistence that Nikitin's lawyer must be chosen by the state.