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5 American Planes Hit Over Libya, Soviets Say

Associated Press

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said today that the Soviet Union has received information indicating five American planes were destroyed or damaged in the bombing raid on Libya. The United States denied the report.

The Soviet spokesman, Vladimir Lomeiko, refused to say where the Soviet Union got its information or to provide details, but he maintained that the United States is covering up its losses from the air strike.

Col. Marvin L. Braman, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington, today repeated that the United States lost only one plane during the April 15 attack on Libya--an F-111 bomber with two crewmen.

The Soviet claim of five downed planes is “total and utter nonsense,” Braman said.

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Lomeiko, however, said the United States account of its losses is untrue.

“Many more aircraft were damaged and destroyed, and the American air force sustained greater losses than were reported,” Lomeiko said.

He said information from Soviet and “various” sources showed five aircraft lost or damaged.

“One F-111, two aircraft were discovered on earth and two aircraft were lost, so that is five,” he said.

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He refused to elaborate when pressed for details or to clarify whether planes were destroyed, missing, or hit but capable of returning to bases, or whether wreckage was recovered.

“Anyway, we are speaking about considerable damage, which was rejected by the American side,” he said.

Meanwhile, demonstrators splattered paint onto a wall at the U.S. Embassy here today during a protest by about 100 students chanting slogans denouncing U.S. nuclear tests and the bombing attack on Libya.

The demonstration began shortly after noon across from the U.S. Embassy on Tchaikovsky Street. Students held banners denouncing U.S. nuclear tests, space weapons and the attack on Libya. The lettering was in English and Russian, as was the students’ chanting.

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The demonstrators said they were students at the Patrice Lumumba Friendship University. Most appeared to be Soviets.

The students erupted into loud boos when the black Cadillac limousine of the U.S. ambassador passed by. The ambassador was not in the car.


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