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Vasil Bilak, former communist leader who invited Soviet troops to Czechoslovakia, dies aged 96

Vasil Bilak, a former hard-line communist leader who paved the way for Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, has died. He was 96.

Slovakia's Communist Party says Bilak died Tuesday in the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, where he lived. No cause of death was given.

Bilak was among the communists who opposed Alexander Dubcek's attempts at reforming the communist regime in Czechoslovakia in late 1960s that became known as the Prague Spring. Bilak is better remembered as one of five communist leaders who invited Soviet troops into the country that crushed the movement in 1968.

As a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, he played a role in establishing the hard-line regime following the invasion. In the 1980s, Bilak opposed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms.