Published: Wednesday, April 26 1989 12:00 a.m. MDT

The first withdrawal of Soviet tanks from Eastern Europe got under way Wednesday.

A total of 31 Red Army T-64 tanks, accompanied by 18 drivers and security personnel, were carefully loaded Tuesday onto flatbed cars on a train bound for the Ukraine from Kiskunhalas, a city in central Hungary 90 miles south of Budapest.The withdrawal is the first in Eastern Europe following Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's announcement Dec. 7 of a unilateral reduction of 500,000 Soviet troops during the next two years. The plan includes the withdrawal of 50,000 troops and 5,000 tanks from East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary.

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