They had third most powerful military in the world just 20 years ago. At least in numbers it was on par with modern US military, just slightly shorter in warships and strategic nukes.
And all their best assets ended up in hands of anyone willing to pay a dime. That is how China got an aircraft carrier and 4gen fighter technology at a ridiculous price.
There were numerous cases of criticism considering Budapest agreement on Ukrainian nuclear disarmament on this board but has anyone thought how could it work wouldn’t they’ve been disarmed?
I think hundreds heavily discounted warheads on black market is a realistic scenario.
Not only Iran but Hamas and drug cartels wouldn’t mind to offer a condo in Miami to a Ukrainian politician for one and get another for free.
“And all their best assets ended up in hands of anyone willing to pay a dime.”
I remember when this was happening. At the time the wall came down and the Soviet Union crumbled, analysts said the new (and newly independent) former republics and Warsaw Pact nations had to make a decision: Quickly abandon the central planning of communism, resulting in short-term pain for a long-term benefit (which Poland chose), or face weak economic conditions in the long run (which Ukraine opted for). The sale of military assets was to bolster state coffers - a short-term solution to a long-term problem.