Power Play

Nuclear lessons from the war in Ukraine

The growing nuclear ambitions of China and North Korea are spurring shifts in defence thinking in Japan and South Korea

A fire is seen after shelling, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, on March 25, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, it had a nuclear arsenal numbering some 35,000 warheads scattered across a handful of former Soviet states.

Almost overnight, the newly independent Ukraine found itself in possession of roughly 5,000 strategic and tactical nuclear weapons - what was at that point the world's third-largest nuclear stockpile. It made the decision to give up the nuclear weapons it inherited for security guarantees from the United States, Britain and Russia, under an agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum signed in 1994.

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