Thirty-one Soviet tanks rolled out of Hungary aboard trains this week in the first phase of a partial withdrawal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe. The T-64 tanks were the first of 5,000 tanks due to leave Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia by 1991 under plans announced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in New York in December.
``It is the historic moment in our politics,'' Col. Boris Adamenko, deputy chief of staff of the Soviet Union's Southern Army Group, told journalists Tuesday.
The tanks belong to the 13th tank division, which arrived in Kiskunhalas following the 1956 Hungarian uprising that was put down by Soviet forces.
Ten thousand Soviet troops are due to leave Hungary, Moscow's smallest Warsaw Pact ally. About 40,000 more will begin leaving Czechoslovakia and East Germany next month.