By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and YURAS KARMANAU
MOSCOW (AP) — When the leaders of the Soviet Union’s three Slavic republics met at a secluded hunting lodge near the Polish border on Dec. 8, 1991, they delivered a death blow to the USSR. Their agreement that day triggered shockwaves that are still reverberating three decades later in tensions between Russia and Ukraine. It declared that “the USSR ceases to exist” and created a loose alliance of former Soviet nations known as the Commonwealth of Independent States. One of the leaders who signed the accord recalls it as a “diplomatic masterpiece” that dissolved a nuclear superpower without shedding “a single drop of blood.” But that would come years later.