We have to ban war: Gorbachev
MOSCOW: Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, warned yesterday against rising tensions between Russia and the United States and said there should be no return to the Cold War.
The frail 87yearold was physically helped by aides to a cinema hall to watch the premiere in Russia of a documentary about his life, his Soviet reforms in the 1980s and his armscontrol drive that helped end the Cold War.
His legacy has come under a pall as ties between Moscow and Washington have fallen to postCold War lows, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and rows over sanctions, election meddling and the poisoning of a spy in England.
He spoke briefly to a cinema hall in Moscow after watching Meeting Gorbachev, directed by filmmakers Werner Herzog and Andre Singer, and was asked if the world would hold back from a new Cold War.
‘‘We must hold back,’’ he said. ‘‘And not just from the Cold War. We have to continue the course we mapped. We have to ban war once and for all. Most important is to get rid of nuclear weapons.’’
Reviled by many Russians as the man whose reforms ultimately led to the Soviet breakup, Gorbachev is lauded in the West as the man who helped end the Cold War.
He said the world was moving dangerously closer to a new arms race.
Last month in a column for The New York Gorbachev denounced the United States after President Donald Trump said he planned to quit the IntermediateRange Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signed in 1987.
In a prepared message read out by an aide before the film, Gorbachev alluded to the article and said ‘‘I am convinced we can stop a new Cold War. I will do everything for this.
‘‘Most dangerous would be a return to confrontation, the start of a new arms race. They are already talking about a nuclear war as if this is something entirely acceptable. It is being prepared; scenarios are being discussed.’’ — Reuters
Mark my words . . . Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev gestures as he attends the Russian premiere in Moscow yesterday, of the documentary Meeting Gorbachev.