The Sunday Telegraph reported Sunday that a senior Soviet spy has defected to the United States.

It identified the Soviet intelligence officer as Alexandre Krapiva, 41, and said he worked for years as a double agent for the United States before defecting in February.Krapiva is being debriefed somewhere in the United States, the newspaper said.

The Sunday Telegraph, a respected British newspaper, said Krapiva served at the Soviet Embassy in Washington for four years beginning in 1982. U.S. intelligence realized Krapiva was using a diplomatic cover to mask his spy work and persuaded him to become a double agent, the newspaper said.

Krapiva was rotated back to Moscow in 1986 and was assigned to Vienna in December.

The newspaper said Krapiva, his wife, their 6-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son fled Vienna to Germany on Feb. 24, where they were met by CIA agents.

The Soviets frantically searched for Krapiva until the Austrian Foreign Office told the Soviet Embassy that he was in Germany under U.S. protection, the paper said.