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Soviet Union


The Soviet Union engaged in a massive airlift of Cuban forces into Angola in 1975 to help the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola--MPLA) defeat rival groups attempting to achieve power after the Portuguese colonial administration ended. The rival group, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola--UNITA), continued to oppose the MPLA and by the early 1980s controlled almost one-half of Angola's territory and increasingly threatened the central government. In both 1985 and 1987, massive Soviet-directed and Cuban-assisted MPLA offensives were launched against UNITA in attempts to achieve a military solution to the insurgency. Both these offensives failed. In December 1988, regional accords were signed setting a timetable for Namibian independence and the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola. The signatories were South Africa, Angola, and Cuba, with the United States acting as mediator and the Soviet Union as observer of the accords.

Data as of May 1989