Gorbachev Gives Breakdown Of Planned Troop Cuts With PM-Defiante Estonia, Bjt
MOSCOW (AP) _ In his most detailed explanation of planned reductions in the Soviet Union’s armed forces, President Mikhail S. Gorbachev said troops will be cut by 12 percent and the military budget trimmed by 14.2 percent.
In a meeting Wednesday with visiting dignitaries, Gorbachev also rebuffed suggestions that only obsolete tanks would be destroyed.
The Soviet leader said his plan to cut the armed forces by 500,000 troops in two years, first announced in his speech to the United Nations last month, would bring a reduction of 240,000 soldiers in the European theater, 200,000 in Asia and 60,000 in the southern Soviet Union.
Gorbachev also said the production of arms and military supplies would be slashed by 19.5 percent and 10,000 tanks would be eliminated in Europe, of which ″5,000 will be physically liquidated, and the others transformed into towing vehicles for civilian needs or into training simulators.″
He accused some in the West of disparaging the unilateral Soviet move by claiming that only obsolete armored vehicles would be destroyed.
″Here’s the way it is: We will withdraw 5,000 of the most modern tanks from our military groups,″ Gorbachev said.
The Soviet leader gave the details in a meeting with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former President Valery Giscard d’Estaing of France, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone and other visiting dignitaries.
His remarks, distributed by the official Tass news agency, were the most detailed explanation yet of the planned Soviet cuts, which he announced Dec. 7 in a United Nations speech.
″Of the 500,000 men, by which the army and fleet will be reduced in two years, 240,000 will come from the European part of the country, 200,000 in the east, and 60,000 in the south,″ Gorbachev said.
Gorbachev also said the second phase of the withdrawal of Soviet military units from Mongolia, a Moscow ally, will begin soon, and that they will be cut by 75 percent. A Soviet air force group stationed in Mongolia will be liquidated, he said.
He also said many Red Army units of an ″offensive character″ will be withdrawn from Eastern Europe.
By Jan. 1, 1991, all remaining Soviet units stationed on the territory of Moscow allies in that region will have taken on ″an exclusively defensive character,″ he said.
On Monday, a Soviet general was quoted as telling Austrian television that his country’s unilateral withdrawal from Eastern Europe will begin in April.
Deputy Defense Minister Vitaly Shabanov was quoted as saying the partial withdrawal of 50,000 troops from Hungary, Czechoslovakia and East Germany, announced by Gorbachev in his U.N. speech, will take place in two phases.
The first phase will be complete this year, and the second in 1990, Austrian television reported Shabonov as saying in an interview with its Moscow correspondent.
About 600,000 Soviet troops are currently stationed in the East Bloc, the bulk of them in East Germany.