Berlin: As Germans marked the Silver Jubilee of the fall of Berlin wall with a host of festivities, with an array of white luminous bulbs adding to the splendour of the town, Chancellor Angela Merkel described German unification a "miracle" as it transpired peacefully without a shot being fired.
Thanking East Germans for their courage to take to the streets to protest the Communist dictatorship, Merkel said, "During the course of 1989 more and more East Germans lost their fears of the state's repression and chicanery, and went out on the streets. It is thanks to their courage the Wall was opened," reported the Reuters.
"It was a day that showed us the yearning for freedom cannot be forever suppressed," Merkel said in a speech in Berlin, on the eve of 25th anniversary of German unification.
Merkel also attended a service for victims of the communist East German regime, and would later attend a huge open-air party the Brandenburg Gate, where she would be joined by former Polish trade union leader and president Lech Walesa and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.
Even as Berlin was resplendent with the fervour of concerts and exhibitions to mark the silver jubilee of German unification, one of the key leaders involved in the process struck a sombre note.
Speaking on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, the man credited with engineering a peaceful end to the Cold War exuded fears of a fresh Cold War waiting in the wings, referring to the Ukraine crisis and its adverse impact on US-Russia ties.
Former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev also accused the West (especially the US) of succumbing to “triumphalism” after the collapse of the USSR over two decades ago and urged for restoration of trust via dialogue.
“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it's already begun," Gorbachev said at an event near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin which symbolises the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Gorbachev also urged the US to lift sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of Moscow's support to separatists there.
Ukraine has been on the boil since January this year as fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces have claimed more than 4000 lives. The war has further added to the strain in US-Russia ties. The US accuses Russia of supporting and arming separatists while Moscow denies any such thing.
Conditions turned only little better after a ceasefire was struck in September however after separatist leaders claimed victory in recently held elections in East Ukraine, fears of fresh violence have been stoked.
Gorbachev also mentioned the bloodshed going on in Europe and the Middle East and expressed concern about “a breakdown in dialogue between the major powers”.
The 83-year old was speaking at one of the events held to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which allowed people from East Germany to experience what West looked like.
The wall separating East Germany and West was erected in 1961 to prohibit people from fleeing the communist East. However after 28 years, on November 9, 1989, the wall was razed leading to German reunification.
To mark silver jubilee of German reunification, many celebrations including rock concerts and fireworks would be held at the Brandenburg Gate.
The city of Berlin was on Saturday sparkling with the shine of 8000 luminous white balloons that will be released on Sunday, marking the end of a bitter 28-year-old division era. Under a spectacular project named 'Lichtgrenze 2014' (meaning 'lightborder 2014'), an array of luminous white balloons follows the border that separated the East Germany from the West until over two decades ago.
The balloons will later be released into Sunday night sky, marking the disappearance of the Berlin Wall.