"Prevent nuclear war": Gorbachev warns Russia and the USA

"Prevent nuclear war"
Gorbachev warns Russia and the United States

Mikhail Gorbachev has not played an active role in Russian politics for a long time, but at least in the West his word still carries weight. Shortly before his 90th birthday, the ex-Soviet president calls on the USA and Russia to disarm. At the same time, he hopes for a better relationship with the EU.

Former Soviet head of state Mikhail Gorbachev has called on the new US President Joe Biden and his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin to promote nuclear disarmament. After the extension of the New Start nuclear disarmament treaty at the beginning of February, the two heads of state should personally negotiate further disarmament steps, Gorbachev said in an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax. A personal meeting between Putin and Biden is "imperative".

"Experience shows that it is necessary to meet and negotiate," said Gorbachev. "The main thing today is to prevent nuclear war," he said. However, no country can do this on its own. "If the desire for disarmament and strengthening security prevails, so much can be achieved," Gorbachev encouraged the heads of state of the USA and Russia.

Less disarmament under Trump

The New Start Treaty of 2010 is the last nuclear disarmament agreement between the US and Russia. Both countries undertake to limit the number of their nuclear warheads to a maximum of 1,550 each. Russia and the USA together own around 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.

Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, the US had reduced its disarmament agreements with Russia as a whole. So they got out of the INF treaty on nuclear disarmament in the medium-range range. The US also terminated the Open Skies Treaty on arms control from the air.

"We are all Europeans"

In the interview, Gorbachev also expressed hope for an improvement in the relationship between Russia and the European Union. "You shouldn't be afraid of negotiations," he said.

Relations between Moscow and Brussels in the Ukraine conflict are more tense than they have been since the Cold War. "Only negotiations, only meetings at all levels – especially at the highest – can bring positive results. I believe in that," said Gorbachev. "You have to understand that we are all Europeans (…) That means that we have to negotiate."

Gorbachev was General Secretary of the CPSU from 1985 to 1991 and Soviet President from 1990 to 1991. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Next Tuesday, March 2nd, he will celebrate his 90th birthday.

. (tagsToTranslate) Politics (t) Mikhail Gorbachev (t) Russia (t) EU (t) USA (t) Disarmament (t) Nuclear weapons