Where Are Ukraine’s Nuclear Weapons

Due to the Budapest memorandum Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons for security, but it didn’t go well.

Karthick Nambi


Photo by Oscar Ävalos on Unsplash

Only a handful of countries possessed nuclear warheads during the Cold War’s peak. Most of the stockpiles belonged to either USSR or USA. When the Soviet bloc broke down, guess who had the third-largest nuclear weapon stockpiles? Ukraine. Where is the nuclear weapon now?

World War II:

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World War II was the ultimate race to find the most potent weapon. Axis and Allied scientists were racing to beat each other with technology. The Germans developed V rockets which rocked Britain. German radar helped the German airforce to bomb accurately. Meanwhile, the British scientists broke the German intelligence code Enigma and were one step ahead of the Germans.

Atom Bomb:

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The biggest game changer was the weapon development in the Manhattan Project. The top minds of the USA worked around the clock to develop the first atomic bomb. With Japan’s reluctance to surrender, the USA dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan. USSR, with its spies, was able to extract the secrets of making an atomic bomb from the USA.

USSR soon tested its nuclear bomb to prove to the world that it was now on par with the USA. The Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of a third world war. Luckily both countries averted it with diplomacy. USSR and USA were in a race to increase their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. USSR and USA later came to a joint agreement to reduce atomic bombs.

Budapest Memorandum:

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In 1990 when USSR collapsed, its major nuclear bombs were in Ukraine. For a short time, Ukraine was the third-largest nuclear nation. As Ukraine was a nascent state USA and USSR didn’t know to want the bombs to fall into the wrong hands. The USA negotiated with Ukraine to hand over the nuclear weapons to Russia. In return, the USA assured it would protect Ukraine in case of Russian aggression. In 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine wanted to revoke the treaty to seek USA’s help, but unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears. Ukraine is now technically all alone in the fight against Russia. The Russian invasion would have been a huge question if Ukraine had a nuclear weapon.