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Sakharov Hears of Soviet Firing on Own Troops

March 01, 1989|From Associated Press

BOSTON — Soviet activist Andrei D. Sakharov has been told that Russian helicopter gunships fired on their own ground troops to prevent their capture by Afghan rebels, his son-in-law said Tuesday night.

In the Soviet Union, Lt. Gen. Boris Gromov, who led the last contingent of Soviet troops out of Afghanistan on Feb. 14, said the allegation was "monstrous."

Sakharov has no evidence that Soviet copters fired on their own soldiers, "but he has heard it and he believes it," said his son-in-law, Efrem Yankelevich.

Yankelevich refused to allow reporters to speak directly with Sakharov, who with his wife, Yelena Bonner, is staying with his relatives in suburban Newton, Mass.

"He didn't specify from whom (he heard) this kind of accusation," Yankelevich said. "He's not the first to make these accusations."

Sakharov first made the charge in an interview with a Canadian radio station during a recent visit, according to an article in the Soviet military newspaper Red Star.

Gromov told the newspaper Tuesday that he had never seen a Soviet unit attack another to prevent capture and interrogation by the \o7 moujahedeen \f7 rebels.

"I state definitely that there had not been nor could have been facts so monstrous," Gromov said.

Yankelevich responded: "On the basis of the facts (available to Sakharov), he has no reason to retract his statement."

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