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Retired Soviet officer rewarded for averting nuclear war
It is September 26, 1983, and Stanislav Petrov is the duty officer at an early-warning anti-nuclear centre just outside Moscow.
Less than a month before, the USSR had shot down a Korean passenger jet. Cold War tensions were at their highest in years.
In a story at RT News, Igor Ogorodnev reports how Petrov’s computer showed that the United States had launched a ballistic missile towards the Soviet Union. Seconds later a few more appeared.
Petrov thought it strange that the United States, with its thousands of nuclear warheads, would begin an assault with so few. The Soviet early detection system was also new and Petrov had little trust in it. Based on a hunch, Petrov chose not to instigate a return salvo.
A subsequent investigation revealed that Soviet spy satellites had mistaken sunlight reflected from clouds for ballistic missiles originating from US bases.