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Reflecting on Cuban missile crisis as Russia-Ukraine war continues

APTOPIX Russia Ukraine War 100922
Leo Correa/AP
A firefighter looks at a part of a wall falling from the residential building that was heavily damaged after a Russian attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Ukraine leaders expressed hope on Friday that the arrival of new air defense equipment will help protect its energy infrastructure after weeks of Russian airstrikes. As the war continues, the talk of Russia potentially using nuclear weapons has some drawing parallels to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the 35-day confrontation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. It started when Soviet leadership reached an agreement with Cuban leader Fidel Castro to place nuclear weapons on the island, which lies just 90 miles away from Florida.

Ultimately both nations came to a peaceful agreement. The U.S. agreed to dismantle its missiles near the Soviet border and in return, the Soviets would dismantle their weapons in Cuba. The confrontation is considered by many to be the closest the Cold War came to full-scale nuclear war.

The Conversation sat down with University of Hawaiʻi ethnic studies professor Noel Kent to discuss the anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis and its similarities with the Ukraine conflict.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Oct. 28, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at
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