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Latvia: Last Russian Troops To Leave Baltics

Riga, 21 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russia will lose its last military presence in the Baltic states today when it hands over the site of a former Soviet radar base in Latvia some four months ahead of schedule. The departure of Russian troops from the military complex at Skrunda, about 100 kilometers west of the capital Riga, will end more than half a century of Russian military presence in the region that started with the annexation of the Baltic states at the outset of World War II. The handover will save Russia some $5 million a year in rent that it has paid to Latvia for a continued presence at the military complex since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Latvian Foreign Minister Indulis Berzinsh called today's handover a "positive example" of relations between Russia and Latvia.