At the end of the Cold War, the third largest nuclear power on earth was not Britain, France or China. It was Ukraine. The Soviet collapse, a slow-motion downfall that culminated in December 1991, resulted in the newly independent Ukraine inheriting roughly 5,000 nuclear arms that Moscow had stationed on its soil. Underground silos on its military bases held long-range missiles that carried up to 10 thermonuclear warheads, each far stronger than the bomb that leveled Hiroshima. Only Russia and the United States had more weapons.
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Editor’s Note: This op-ed was published by The New York Times. The Kyiv Independent is aggregating it as a recommendation to our readers.