As we all know, nuclear weapons are an important strategic deterrent for a country. In order to maintain its threat to the United States, the Soviet Union produced a large number of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, some of its nuclear weapons and equipments were divided up by the major allied countries on the principle of proximity. Among these countries, Russia has obtained the most weapons and equipments due to its very large territory. After Russia, Ukraine received the most numbers of weapons that included nuclear weapons, long-range strategic bombers, etc.
Ukraine’s land area is only 600,000 square kilometers, which is equivalent to one-fifth of India. However, the Soviets has made a lot of industrial development in Ukraine. At that time, the two aircraft carriers built by the Soviet Union and the world’s largest transport aircraft An-225, a large number of the most advanced T-80 main battle tanks and so on remain in Ukraine, not only that, Ukraine also has the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, the Antonov Design Bureau, the Lurica Saturn Design Bureau, and the Southern Design Bureau.
Among them, the Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau has produced the most advanced T-64 and T-80 series tanks in the Soviet Union, the Antonov Design Bureau is the Soviet Union’s top passenger and transport aircraft design bureaus, and the Saturn Design Bureau is responsible for supplies of most of the Soviet Union’s large aircraft and engines. The Southern Design Bureau was responsible for the manufacture and designing of ballistic missiles. It can be clearly said that Ukraine’s military industrial heritage was very rich and comprehensive at that time.
However, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Ukraine also inherited the debts of the Soviet Union. In addition, the economic lifeline of Ukraine was controlled by oligarchs at that time, causing the Ukrainian economy to be hit hard. One of the two aircraft carriers was snatched by Russia, and the other was bought by China. The powerful Tu-160 bombers and 60 Tu-22M was destroyed. The shipyard and weapons factories were closed.
At the time of its independence from the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine had the third-largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world. Things, however, changed when the country became a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1994 alongside Belarus and Kazakhstan, the other two countries that were left with nuclear weapons after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
At the time of U.S.S.R. dissolution, Ukraine had an estimated 1,900 strategic warheads, 176 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), and 44 strategic bombers, according to the Arms Control Association of the U.S.
Ukraine transferred its last nuclear warhead to Russia in 1996 and dismantled its last strategic nuclear delivery vehicle in 2001.
Budapest Memorandum: The Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances is a political agreement between Ukraine, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. It was signed in 1994.
According to the memorandum, signatories Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. agreed to respect the “independence and sovereignty and existing borders of Ukraine” after the country agreed to give up its nuclear stockpile. Ukraine was also promised that its territorial integrity and political independence will be maintained and that the signatories will not use economic coercion against Ukraine to their own advantage.
What’s worse, at that time, under the coercion and inducement of the West, Ukraine destroyed all of its nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles. Originally, Ukraine had more than 2,500 nuclear weapons, 176 cruise missiles with nuclear warheads, 1,200 intercontinental nuclear bombs, and 170 nuclear bomb silos, more than 400 Kh-22 long-range cruise capable of sink carrier strike group, all of which were also destroyed. You must know that when the Soviet Union just disintegrated, Ukraine Inherited 25% of the military heritage of the Soviet Union. After destroying its nuclear weapons, Ukraine was full of joy and thought that it could now easily integrate western weapons into its military. In the end, a war broke out in Ukraine, and it is now suffering from war.