23 January 2014, 16:14

Former Soviet President Gorbachev asks Putin, Obama to initiate peace talks in Ukraine

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Gorbachev

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has asked the leaders of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, to initiate negotiations in Ukraine where confrontations between the opposition and the police have been ongoing for several days.

"Vladimir Vladimirovich, Mr. Obama, I am asking you to find an opportunity and take a resolute step towards helping Ukraine return to the path of peaceful development. I place my confidence in you," says Gorbachev's appeal to Putin and Obama obtained by a Russian news agency.

"I am confident it is in your power to achieve this goal. The warring sides should sit down at the negotiating table," Gorbachev said.

"A fight of Ukrainians against Ukrainians cannot be allowed. This is completely absurd. Yet the situation seems to have developed so that a catastrophe may happen without our assistance, without support from authoritative representatives of our two states," Gorbachev said.

"Mutual accusations are being made. Culprits of the exacerbated situation in Ukraine are being searched for in Russia, the West, Ukrainian authorities and the ranks of the Ukrainian opposition. This only escalates the tensions. It is not the time to make inquiries. Most importantly, the dangerous escalation must be stopped," Gorbachev said.

The Kiev events are threatening not only Ukraine and its neighbors but also Europe and the entire world, he said.

"Same as many people in Russia, I take everything that is happening in Ukraine very close to heart. I simply cannot imagine it may come to a split of the nation, a split of society. These are understandable concerns," the former Soviet leader said.

"Russia and Ukraine have been very close for centuries. But this is not just the historical bonds. There are close family relations between people. My mother was Ukrainian and my father was Russian. My late wife Raisa Maximovna was Ukrainian. There are thousands of such examples. We may speak about a blood relation between our citizens, our peoples, our countries," Gorbachev said.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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