Mikhail Gorbachev warns of new Cold War at Berlin Wall ceremony
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has said that the world is on the brink of a new Cold War, and trust should be restored by dialogue with Russia.
At an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, Mikhail Gorbachev said the West had “succumbed to triumphalism”.
He expressed alarm about recent Middle Eastern and European conflicts.
Tensions have been raised between the West and Russia over Ukraine, which was part of the Soviet Union.
Mikhail Gorbachev, 83, was attending an event at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate.
The landmark was inaccessible during the Partition of Germany, and is seen as a symbol of the country’s reunification.
“Bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East against the backdrop of a breakdown in dialogue between the major powers is of enormous concern,” Mikhail Gorbachev said.
“The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some are even saying that it’s already begun.”
The former Soviet leader said that the West, in particular the US, had succumbed to “triumphalism” after the collapse of the USSR in 1991.
For this reason the global powers had been unable to cope with conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and now Ukraine, he added.
He urged the West to lift sanctions on Russian officials – imposed over the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict – and restore trust through dialogue with the Kremlin.
Mikhail Gorbachev, as leader of the USSR in the late 1980s, is credited with rapprochement with the West and creating a more liberal atmosphere which led to the collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe in 1989.
On November 9 1989 East Germany opened its borders including the Wall, which separated East and West Berlin.
Its collapse led to a mood of euphoria, as many East Germans got their first glimpses of the West.
Hundreds are now arriving in Berlin to celebrate anniversary on November 9.
Festivities will include a rock concert and fireworks at the Brandenburg Gate. Other participants include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Polish president Lech Walesa.
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