In East Germany amid an atmosphere of festivity and accompanied by ceremonial speeches, the first unit of twenty thousand Soviet troops to leave the country is on its way home.
In East Germany amid an atmosphere of festivity and accompanied by ceremonial speeches, the first unit of twenty thousand Soviet troops to leave the country is on its way home. The withdrawal, described by Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev as proof of Soviet commitment to detente, began in Wittenburg on Wednesday (5 December).
SYNOPSIS: The withdrawal ceremonies of the Red Army's sixth Panza division in the central East German town of Wittenburg began before dawn. Reports by western correspondents said the timing of this first stage pullout was significant. NATO's (north Atlantic Treaty Organisation) council is meeting next week in Brussels to vote on plans to deploy new nuclear missiles in Western Europe.
While the withdrawal continued the Warsaw Pact's seven foreign ministers warned that the deployment of the new missiles could injure disarmament talks. About thirty modern T-62 tanks were loaded aboard trains. But western analysts believe that many of the thousand tanks scheduled to be withdrawn will be World War Two vintage vehicles which are now outdated. The unusual step of beginning a withdrawal of combat units was followed by a call by Warsaw Pact ministers for an immediate start to further disarmament talks.