Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called on Western countries to stop isolating Russia and end the use of individual sanctions in an article published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta government daily on Thursday.
The 85-year-old Gorbachev wrote that Russia plays an “important and positive” part in international relations, and said the country wouldn’t accept a “second tier role in the world.”
“It is high time for the West to give up attempts of isolating [Russia]. That has never been effective,” he wrote. “The more so when it comes to ‘individual sanctions,’ which are unlikely to achieve any results. They should be abandoned in the first place. Otherwise, there will be no dialogue or chances to restore trust.”
Diplomatic relations between Russia and the West hit a low point not seen since the Cold War after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia’s alleged involvement in the armed insurrection in the eastern region of Ukraine.
Gorbachev pointed to the cooperation between the U.S. and Russia in finding a solution to the conflict in Syria as a blue print for the “relaxing of tensions” moving forward.
“If this trend continues, we need to broaden it into other spheres of relations,” he wrote, though he acknowledged that it would be a “lengthy and difficult process.”