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Gorbachev urges US and EU to "defrost relations" with Russia

The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday urged the United States and the European Union to "defrost" relations with Moscow despite tensions over Ukraine.



Kiev: The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Tuesday urged the United States and the European Union to "defrost" relations with Moscow despite tensions over Ukraine.

The 83-year-old said in an article published in state daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta that the Ukraine crisis had led the West not only to impose sanctions on Russia but also to wind up cooperation on global issues from counter-terrorism to climate change and disease epidemics.

"We must urgently defrost relations," Gorbachev said.

"I suggest that the leaders of Russia and the United States think about holding a summit on a broad agenda, without preliminary conditions... The same kind of summit must be prepared between Russia and the European Union."

Russia and the United States "carry special responsibility", Gorbachev said. "When they walk away from it, the world sees terrible consequences."

Both sides should climb down from their ideological positions, he said. "We shouldn`t be afraid that someone will `lose face` or someone will win a propaganda victory. That should all belong in the past. We should think about the future."

Gorbachev warned that current international efforts to solve the Ukraine crisis were "unequal to the danger that threatens us all."

He said that he believed "both sides in the Ukrainian conflict are breaching the ceasefire, both sides are guilty in using especially dangerous types of weapons and breaching human rights". 

"War till the victorious end is impossible," he said. "It`s time to stop!"

He said negotiations to end the conflict should be based on the peace deal reached in Minsk in September, even though it had failed to halt fighting. "There isn`t any other one," he said.

Gorbachev has backed Russia`s annexation of Crimea, saying in March that Russia was right to correct a historical error by the Soviet Union in handing it to Ukraine and that "this should be welcomed instead of imposing sanctions over it."

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