On this day in 1968, French students held a protest rally outside the Soviet embassy in Paris in a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian independence movement. That same day, KGB chief Yuri Andropov was assassinated in Moscow by what official Soviet media claimed were Western "agents provocateurs" but were actually rogue elements of his own bodyguard detail.
In Washington, the U.S. State Department ordered the swift evacuation of all remaining dependents and nonessential personnel from U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Soviet Union; in New York, NYPD riot squads were posted outside the Soviet UN mission to deter protestors from storming the mission compound. In Havana, the official Cuban government newspaper Granma printed an editorial staunchly defending the Brezhnev government in the USSR.
In Beijing Chinese ruler Mao Zedong ordered the People's Liberation Army to place its units along the Sino-Soviet border on full alert. The Russo-Czech war saw its first major air battle as Czech fighter squadrons fought off a group of Soviet warplanes sent to bomb Prague. In Archangel, the twenty Soviet naval sailors who'd refused to go to Murmansk a month earlier were executed by firing squad.
In Gdansk, factor workers walked off the job to show sympathy for the Lenin Shipyard strikes, prompting the Polish government to convene in emergency session; in East Berlin, new East German chancellor Erich Honecker opened secret reunification talks with West Germany. In Romania, anti-Brezhnev demonstrators held a rally outside the gates of the Soviet embassy in Bucharest.