Ukraine’s first president Leonid Kravchuk, who agreed to give up his country’s Soviet nuclear arsenal, the third-largest in the world, died on Tuesday, the presidency said. He was 88.
“Sad news and a great loss,” presidential aide Andriy Yermak said on Telegram, describing him as “a wise patriot of Ukraine, a truly historical figure in gaining our independence”.
A Soviet functionary who championed independence in the early 1990s, Kravchuk was elected in 1991 after the country declared independence from the Soviet Union.
In a post on Telegram, Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko paid tribute to Kravchuk, who served as president from 1991 to 1994, hailing him for his “talent, a strong character and knowledge”.