Gorbachev expresses concern over tensions between Russia and West

Mikhail Gorbachev, final leader of the Soviet Union, who was still in office when Estonia became independent, gave a BBC interview recently where he decried the current state of affairs in relations between Russia and the west, and nuclear weapons.

When asked by interviewer Steve Rosenberg about the current standoff between Russia and the west and whether a parallel could be drawn with the Cold War era, whose end he presided over, Gorbachev, 88, described it as "chilly, but not a war."

"Look at what's happening. In different places, there are skirmishes, there is shootings, aircraft and ships are being sent here and there and everywhere. This is not the kind of situation we want."

Gorbachev famously signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1988. In the following years, well over close to 2,000 land-based nuclear warheads capable of being launched over a 500-km to 5,500-km range were destroyed. However, both the U.S. and the Soviet Union's successor state, the Russian Federation, pulled out of the treaty this year.

"As long as weapons of mass destruction exist, primarily nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal," Gorbachev, who was in the Komsomol, the youth wing of the Communist Party, with Vaino Väljas, the sixth and final chair of the Communist Party of Estonia, said of the issue.

"All nations should declare that nuclear weapons must be destroyed. This is to save ourselves and our planet," he went on.

On the issue of Brexit, Gorbachev joked that it was up to politicians in Britain to find a solution.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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