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From the Cold War era: 50 years since the U-2 incident

Francis Gary Powers Jr. examines the wreckage of his father's U-2 spyplane at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow on Friday.

Francis Gary Powers Jr. examines the wreckage of his father's U-2 spyplane at the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow on Friday.   | Photo Credit: ALEXANDER NEMENOV

Fifty years after his father was shot down by the Soviets in an incident that marked a turning point in the Cold War, Francis Gary Powers Jr. on Friday visited the wreckage of his dad's U-2 spy plane.

“It's a wonderful display,” Mr. Powers Jr. said while standing in the hall of the Central Armed Forces Museum in Moscow which holds the wrecked plane and other material commemorating the so-called “U-2 incident” of May 1, 1960.

On that day, Francis Gary Powers, a U.S. pilot carrying out a secret mission for the CIA to photograph Soviet nuclear sites, was shot down near the Urals Mountains city of Sverdlovsk, now called Yekaterinburg.

Powers parachuted out and was captured by the Soviets, who later convicted him of espionage and threw him in prison. In 1962, Powers was released in a U.S.-Soviet spy swap at the border between East and West Germany, in exchange for America's release of Soviet spy Rudolf Abel. Powers died in 1997.

The incident was a major embarrassment for the United States, which had denied carrying out spy flights over the Soviet Union and it derailed efforts to make peace between the two Cold War superpowers.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2020 2:41:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/From-the-Cold-War-era-50-years-since-the-U-2-incident/article16297460.ece

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