Skip to comments.Ukrainian missiles 'gone missing'
Posted on 03/25/2004 5:36:28 PM PST by knak
Ukrainian Defence Minister Yevhen Marchuk has said that several hundred of his country's missiles are unaccounted for.
The weapons were supposed to have been decommissioned in the years that followed the break-up of the USSR.
But it is now being claimed that there is no record of them being destroyed.
This is being blamed on accounting problems during the period of transition that followed the country's independence in 1991.
We are currently looking for several hundred missiles - they were decommissioned, but we can't find them
"We are currently looking for several hundred missiles. They were decommissioned, but we can't find them.
"Each of the missiles contained gold, silver, platinum. But where are the results of their recycling?" he asked.
The revelations follow a recent audit carried out by the Defence Ministry during which it is claimed officials were unable to discover any evidence that these weapons were destroyed.
Mr Marchuk believes that accounting problems are to blame because a proper accounting system was not used by his department until summer 2003, around the time that he was appointed.
When Ukraine became independent in the early 1990s it inherited a huge arsenal of weapons which had been kept on its territory by the USSR.
The BBC's Helen Fawkes in Kiev says Ukraine, like many former Soviet republics, is still having to deal with the legacy of the Cold War.
By Lester Haines
Posted: 25/03/2004 at 15:50 GMT
Hundreds of missiles have gone AWOL from the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, defence minister Yevhen Marchuk has admitted.
The missiles - which were supposed to have been decommissioned following Ukraine's independence in 1991 - are apparently unaccounted for, due to "accounting problems".
Marchuk said: "We are currently looking for several hundred missiles. They were decommissioned, but we can't find them. Each of the missiles contained gold, silver, platinum. But where are the results of their recycling?"
The BBC report into the matter studiously avoids using the word "nuclear" in relation to "missile", although it seems pretty certain that these are ICBMs we're talking about here.
Ukraine maintains that it no longer has any nuclear weapons on its soil. A recent statement to Pravda insists "in order to meet the requirements of a bilateral agreement with Russia dating from April 1992, whereby Ukraine had to transfer its nuclear weapons to Russia for destruction, all Ukraine's strategical nuclear weapons were removed to the Russian Federation by June 1996. Therefore Ukraine met all the obligations on nuclear weapons which it had inherited from the Soviet Union on time."
Which is all well and good, except this particular disclaimer came in response to a charge that "in 1998 Ukrainian scientists sold al-Qaeda representatives a compact supply of nuclear weapons, which could have been fitted into a small suitcase".
Furthermore, a former Soviet intelligence officer was recently caught trying to smuggle a 400g of uranium from Ukraine into Hungary. When detained in his minibus, the man claimed he had been paid to transport the material, which was "for use by a dentist".
So, while Hungarian dentists look for a new source of fuel for their independent nuclear deterrent, Mr Marchuk has the unenviable task of trying to work out how hundreds of missiles disappeared off the face of the planet. "Unfortunately, strange things happen," he notes.
Given that the former Soviet nuclear arsenal consists of an estimated 7-800 tons of weapons-grade uranium, 150-200 tons of weapons-grade plutonium and around 16,000 stored nuclear weapons, the world can happily live without further strangeness of this kind.
It would be nice if the article said exactly what kind of missles. I assume that since they listed gold and other precious metals, but no nuclear materials, that these aren't nukes, but we're just supposed to assume that?
OH, and the fact that THEY ARE MISSILES wasn't of concern??!??!!!
Sure! I believe that.[sarc]
So who were they sold to?