The world is in 'colossal danger' and must destroy all nuclear weapons to save mankind - Gorbachev

Former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the world is in 'colossal danger' and must destroy all nuclear weapons to save the planet and mankind.

The ex Soviet president said tension between the and the West will remain fraught as long as weapons of mass destruction exist.

In an interview with the , he said: 'As long as weapon of mass destruction exist, primarily nuclear weapons, the danger is colossal.

'All nations should declare that nuclear weapons must be destroyed. This is to save ourselves and the planet.' 

Gorbachev's biggest achievement was an arms race treaty he signed with US president Ronald Reagan in 1987 that lasted more than 30 years and was credited with helping to bring an end to the Cold War.

The landmark pact recently fell apart when Washington and Moscow tore up the agreement that helped secure three decades of peace between the superpowers.   

Describing the standoff between Russia and the West as 'chilly, but still a war', Gorbachev said: 'There are skirmishes, there is shooting, aircraft and ships are being sent here there and everywhere.

'This is not the kind of situation we want.'

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty concluded by then-US president Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev limited the use of medium-range missiles, both conventional and nuclear.

Both sides had signalled their intention to pull out of the Cold War-era missile pact for months, trading accusations of breaking the terms of the deal.

Russia's foreign ministry says there is no longer enough time left to draft a new nuclear arms treaty with the US before the only one left in existence expires. 

Foreign ministry official Vladimir Leontyev raised fears of a new Cold War arms race between the two world powers on Friday when he said it will not be possible to replace the New START treaty before it lapses in 2021.

New START, which limits the number of large-scale nukes that Russia and the US can deploy, is the only nuclear pact left between the two powers after tore up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) earlier this year.

INF, which was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev and was key to bringing an end to the Cold War, banned the development of smaller-scale nukes.

America said at the time that Russia was already in breach of the treaty, and it needed to withdraw in order to counter the threat.

Trump's administration has also previously complained that China was not a signatory to that deal and has been developing a host of new weapons that threaten American allies in Asia-Pacific region.

Trump has said he wants to negotiate a new treaty with Russia, and Putin has also signalled his desire to form a new pact - but no summit has been scheduled. 

Leontyev said the two sides have been holding talks on New START for a year, although he added they have only agreed 'a simplified version of a previous treaty.' 

'There are no new principal issues in it. However, now some issues arise, which require a very serious preliminary groundwork at an expert level,' he added. 

 

Compiled by Olalekan Adeleye

MailOnline

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