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Last Red Army Units Leave Hungary

June 16, 1991 GMT

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) _ The Red Army withdrew its last soldiers from Hungary on Sunday, ending its 46-year-old military presence two weeks ahead of schedule, the state MTI news agency reported.

The commander of the Soviet forces in Hungary, Lt. Gen. Viktor Shilov, remained behind, the agency reported. Under the withdrawal agreement, signed by Moscow and Budapest in March 1990, Shilov will be the last Soviet soldier to leave.

The agreement gave Soviet forces until June 30 to leave - 46 years after they arrived at the end of World War II.

During the past 15 months, 35,000 railway cars have helped transport more than 50,000 troops, 860 tanks, 600 pieces of mobile artillery and an unknown number of short-range rockets out of Hungary.

Budapest, where Soviet troops crushed the 1956 anti-Stalinist uprising, will stage a music festival June 30 to mark the departure of the Soviet force that held it in the Communist East bloc 35 years earlier.

″The occasion to celebrate on June 30 is the restoration of Hungary’s sovereignty and not the withdrawal of Soviet troops,″ President Arpad Goencz said in a radio interview Sunday.

In 1956, the government of Imre Nagy sought to break with the Soviet bloc, withdrawing from its Communist alliance, the Warsaw Pact, and asking for protection from the United Nations.

Janos Kadar broke away from the Nagy Cabinet, formed his own counter- government, and asked for Soviet help to put down the revolution. Nagy and his government were then kidnapped and secretly executed as the Soviets put down the revolution.

After Mikhail Gorbachev became president of the Soviet Union and initiated policies of glasnost and perestroika, Hungary gradually moved toward democratic rule.

Financial issues concerning the withdrawal still have not been settled and negotiations continue.

The Hungarians are trying to claim the Soviets owe them damages because of the state of the facilities the Soviets used. They are also claiming $270 million for environmental damage.

The Soviets are seeking $660 million for agreeing to leave the installations.

The Soviet Union has also agreed to withdraw all its forces from neighboring Czechoslovakia by June 30.

Most of the 73,500 Soviet troops deployed in Czechoslovakia after a Soviet- led invasion in August 1968, have already left.