Former Soviet Army officer Vladimir Procenko shows a picture of the Soviet R12 nuclear missile near the abandoned launch site in Zeltini, Latvia, July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
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Hidden in the forests of Aluksne, near Latvia's northeastern border with Russia, the remains of a former Soviet nuclear missile base are now a magnet for tourists rather than a top secret site manned by soldiers. The Zeltini missile launch site, operational during the Cold War years from 1962 to 1984 when Latvia was under Soviet rule, at one time concealed at least eight nuclear missiles in its hangars.Upmalis says that Latvia, as a borderland of the Soviet empire, was crammed with military installations ranging from tanks, artillery and ammunition stockpiles to submarine bases, military airfields and five bases for nuclear missiles.The Soviet military was in 24 of Latvia's 26 regions, Upmalis said.
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