Stanislav Petrov
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The man who may have saved the world from WWIII

Thirty years ago, on 26 September 1983, the world was saved from a possible nuclear disaster.

In the early hours of the morning, the Soviet Union's early-warning systems detected an incoming missile strike from the United States.

But duty officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job it was to register apparent enemy missile launches - decided not to report it to his superiors, and instead dismissed it as a false alarm.

Mr Petrov told the BBC's Russian service ''I picked up the telephone hand-set, spoke to my superiors and reported that the alarm was false. But I myself was not sure until the very last moment. I knew perfectly well that nobody would be able to correct my mistake if I had made one.''

  • 26 Sep 2013
  • From the section World
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