Jaruzelski sorry for 1968 invasion

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Former Polish President General Wojciech Jaruzelski Sunday apologized for the first time for ordering Polish troops to take part in the Moscow-led crackdown on the Prague Spring socialist reform movement in 1968.

Speaking to Czech state television on the 37th anniversary of the crackdown, Jaruzelski, Polish defense minister at the time, said the invasion of another Warsaw Pact nation was "very painful for me."

"But, in 1968, I was the defense minister implementing a political decision, convinced that there were grounds for that on the basis of the information available to us then. Today, and naturally much earlier, I realized this decision had been incorrect, wrong, shameful. As I took part in implementing it, I am now offering my sincere apologies."

Soviet troops and soldiers from four communist bloc countries stormed into Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, to halt a liberalization movement led by Czech Communist party chief Alexander Dubcek, fearing they might provoke a wider pro-democracy push. Eighty people were killed.

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