Liberia breaks with USSR

Liberia broke diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union yesterday because of alleged spying. The government said Soviet diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country. The Foreign Ministry said security forces last night arrested 14 students caught entering and leaving the Soviet Embassy. Some of the students were passing classified information on Liberia's military installations and defense capabilities, the statement said.

It added that documentary evidence was retrieved from the students and is now with the country's security forces.

The Liberian statement accused the Soviet Union of a breach of the principles of international relations and gross interference in internal affairs. It said it had recalled its diplomats from Moscow.

The break in relations was the latest in a series of tangles between Moscow and the government of Samuel Doe. The Soviet Embassy is headed by a charg'e d'affaires. Two years ago former Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Ulanov was declared persona non grata after accusations of interference in Liberia's internal affairs. The Soviets, in turn, dismissed Liberia's ambassador to Moscow.

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