In the early ’90s, a treaty with the United States ensured Ukraine became a nuke-free nation, and 176 former top-secret nuclear missile silos were demolished, except for one. Located 3 hours drive from Kiev, the Museum of Strategic Missile Troops is a former top-secret Soviet nuclear missile base operated by the armed forces of Ukraine. Under the guidance of former officers who worked at the base, visitors are led on a tour explaining how large-scale Soviet nuclear missiles were managed, maintained, tested, guarded, and later dismantled. Visit underground control pods where soldiers had their fingers on the button, and walk among a range of decommissioned nuclear missiles, including one missile that carried 10 warheads each 50 times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
Length of Trip : 3 hours
Cost : Entrance costs US$ 7 per person. Solo East Travel offers transportation from Kiev, overnight accommodation, and invaluable translation services at a cost of around 200 UAH (around $50), and a minimum of 3 bookings. For further information, visit: Solo East Tours.
Best time to go : Open year-round
Wheelchair friendly : Contact operator to make arrangements
Family friendly : Not recommended for children
Where to eat : Pervomaysk: Стодола (Краснофлотська 55, Pervomais'k, Ukraine, 55200) Kiev: Imbir (7 Zhylianska Street) Cafe Varenye ( 22 Symona Petlyury Street)
Official Site : Solo East Tour to the Strategic Missile Museum
Getting There : The Museum of Strategic Missile Troops is located about 3.5 hours drive from Kiev. It is open from 10am to 5pm daily. You can take a bus to the Pobugskoye settlement from Kiev, use a travel agency, or rent a car.
Note from Robin : There are not many places where you can touch the end of the world. At the museum, you'll be able to stand alongside the SS-18, a missile with a payload of ten 750-kiloton warheads. Each warhead has the potential for 50 times the destructive impact of Hiroshima. Once launched, the 106-foot missile – nicknamed Satan – could fly through a mushroom cloud and travel over 9000 miles seeking its target. There are still hundreds of SS-18s lurking beneath the Russian countryside, although Russia recently announced plans for their replacement. Some scientists believe that a re-equipped Satan is the ideal missile to destroy an incoming asteroid.