After spending three days on a grounded airliner in New York, Soviet ballerina Lyudmila Vlasova has returned to the Soviet Union.
GV Plane taxiing in as crowds wave with bouquets. (3 SHOTS)
SV Vlasova down steps and greeted by mother and officials. (2 SHOTS)
GV Vlasova walks on tarmac surrounded by crowd.
GV Vlasova enters airport lounge and speaks to Soviet reporter as she walks through corridor.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: After spending three days on a grounded airliner in New York, Soviet ballerina Lyudmila Vlasova has returned to the Soviet Union. The strange drama played out on the tarmac of Kennedy airport had lead to charges, and counter-charges of diplomatic interference. Miss Vlasova was trying to leave the United States after her dancer husband announced his intention to remaining in the US.
SYNOPSIS: Miss Vlasova's plane landed at Moscow's Sheremetevo airport, and was greeted by cheering crowds. For three days her plane had been refused permission to leave New York.
American officials had been holding the plane so that they could assure themselves that Miss Vlasova wanted to return to the Soviet Union of her own free will. Last week her husband, dancer Alexander Godunov, defected to the West. The U.S. argued that it had strong legal grounds in detaining the plane, but the Soviet Union attacked the move as a violation of international law and said it was aimed at worsening US-Soviet relations.
Miss Vlasova told reporters that she was happy to be home, but felt a little tired. the wider implications of the Godunov defection, and the detaining of the Aeroflot flight are still to be felt. It is still unclear whether or not the Soviets intend to lodge an official complaint.