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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Early Latvian Pullout

RIGA, Latvia -- The remaining Russian soldiers in the Baltic states may leave earlier than planned as work to close the Soviet-era Skrunda early warning radar system looks set to end ahead of schedule, a Russian army official said Friday.

Skrunda is the last vestige of nearly 50 years of Soviet rule over the three Baltic states. It was closed in September under an agreement between Moscow and Riga that set a dismantling deadline of February 2000.

"The Russian Defense Ministry is putting in an effort to cut the dismantling time short. We plan to have the work completed this fall, I would say October," Colonel Alexander Nikitin, a member of the joint panel overseeing dismantling, said at a news conference.

Less than 100 Russian military personnel are still at Skrunda, from a presence of about 400 prior to its closure.