The Soviet Union released West German daredevil pilot Mathias Rust and expelled him Wednesday, 14 months after he flew a small Cessna plane through heavily fortified defenses and landed in Red Square.
"The hapless pilot of the Cessna sport plane has just taken a flight from Moscow to the Federal Republic of Germany," the official Tass news agency reported.Rust, who was arrested after he landed the rented Cessna in Moscow near the Kremlin in Red Square May 28, 1987, was sentenced Sept. 4, 1987, to four years in a labor camp but he served the 14 months in Lefortovo Prison.
Rust was taken to Moscow's airport for a flight to West Germany, according to his lawyer. No other details were available.
In Bonn, a government spokesman said West Germany welcomed the Soviet decision and the youth section of Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrat Party said it was a humane gesture and a positive sign for East-West ties.
Rust flew the Cessna 172 about 450 miles from Helsinki, Finland, through some of the world's most heavily defended air space and landed in the center of Moscow to the embarrassment of Soviet officials.
The stunt led to the sacking of Soviet Defense Minister Sergei Sokolov and his replacement by the current defense chief, Dmitri Yazov.
Rolf Schamerowski, a prosecutor in Rust's hometown of Hamburg, said Wednesday that after Rust has rested, he will be questioned to determine if there are grounds to charge him with violating flight safety rules.
Rust reportedly has spent his time in jail learning Russian and an unspecified trade because, a source explained earlier this year, he had no profession when he undertook the daredevil flight to Russia.