At the break up of the Soviet Union Ukraine was left with many Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Launch Silos such as this one, most are now full of concrete to comply with NATO agreements, but this one remains as a museum and for around £5 an officer who used to work there will show you around the place.
These sites are identical to the ones in Russia, which still today, contain missiles targeted at the west. In a token gesture to maintain security for Russia the museum only allow you to visit the two lower floors of the control complex, but ironically these are the ones which control the launch equipment and house the officers who can stay inside the command centre for up to 45 days at a time should the need arise.
The operators inside this command centre worked shifts so as the missile launch controls were manned 24/7. They never knew the destination of the missiles they could one day have to launch, they would just carry out well rehearsed launch procedures should they receive instructions to do so from Moscow. Unsurprisingly, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it was discovered that these missiles were targeted at America and Britain, with some having targets in China.
Should high levels of radiation be detected on the ground then the missiles would launch themselves against their specified targets if operators did not respond within 45 minutes to prevent the launch.
Missiles were never launched from here, but many workers became very ill due to the handling of the highly toxic fuel. There are also stories of the public becoming ill around the sites of other silos which have been filled with concrete after drinking water became contaminated with traces of fuel from the derelict silos.
For more information visit the museum’s website here