Ex-Kremlin boss Gorbachev on a visit to Berlin (archive picture)
Jens Kalaene / dpa
The Navalny case, the Nord Stream 2 Baltic Sea pipeline, the ongoing dispute about nuclear disarmament: the relationship between Russia and the West is currently under various strains.
Ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev hopes, however, that both sides will get more into conversation again - at the highest level.
The extension of the New Start nuclear disarmament treaty at the beginning of February is not enough for the former Kremlin chief.
According to the Interfax news agency, Gorbachev called on the new US President Joe Biden and his Russian colleague Vladimir Putin to start new negotiations on further disarmament steps.
A personal meeting between Putin and Biden is "imperative".
"The main thing today is to prevent nuclear war"
"Experience shows that it is necessary to meet and negotiate," said Gorbachev, who will turn 90 on Tuesday.
"The main thing today is to prevent nuclear war," Gorbachev warned.
"In order to make progress, you have to approach each other openly."
His experience with US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s had shown that the leaders of the two largest nuclear powers could achieve much on global security issues if they wanted to.
Washington and Moscow had signed several nuclear disarmament treaties under the reformer Gorbachev.
Under Biden's predecessor Donald Trump, the United States withdrew from most of the agreements.
So they got out of the INF treaty on nuclear disarmament in the medium-range range.
The US also terminated the Open Skies Treaty on arms control from the air.
Shortly after Biden took office at the end of January, both sides finally agreed to extend the last major nuclear disarmament treaty, New Start, by five years.
Both countries undertake to limit the number of their nuclear warheads to a maximum of 1,550 each.
Gorbachev also believes in a better relationship with the EU
Gorbachev was also hopeful about a better relationship between Russia and the EU.
In the Ukraine conflict, for example, relations between Moscow and Brussels are more tense than they have been since the Cold War.
»Only negotiations, only meetings at all levels - especially at the highest - can produce positive results.
I believe in it, ”he said.
Icon: The mirror
fek / dpa / AFP