Share story

MOSCOW (AP) — Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Thursday that urgent efforts must be taken to prevent a new arms race.

Gorbachev, 87, told reporters that Moscow and Washington should focus on mending their rift and improving their relationship, one he described as the most important in the world.

Gorbachev said “I hope that the arms race could be stopped and we could continue the nuclear disarmament” that he and U.S. President Ronald Reagan initiated.

He was speaking after attending the Moscow premier of a film made by Werner Herzog based on their conversations.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced last month that he intends to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that Gorbachev and Reagan signed in 1987 over alleged Russian violations.

Gorbachev, who took the helm in 1985 and stepped down on Christmas Day 1991 as the Soviet Union broke up, has won broad international acclaim for his role in helping end the Cold War.

But he has been frequently criticized at home where many held him responsible for the Soviet demise and the misery and political turmoil that followed.

In a separate statement issued Thursday, Gorbachev voiced concern about “attempts to take the world back into the past,” warning that a new twist of the arms race poses the greatest danger.

Gorbachev said he was deeply worried that “some talk about a nuclear war as something admissible, prepare for it and discuss its possible scenarios.”

He noted that he and Reagan agreed that “a nuclear war can’t be won and must never be fought” — a declaration that must be remembered today.