The last leader of the Soviet Union said the tension between Russia and the U.S. has reached a "dangerous point" and that ending talks between the two world powers was "the biggest mistake."
U.S.-Russia relations suffered when Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea more than two years ago, but got even worse recently as the two nations are at odds over how to solve the civil-war-turned-humanitarian-crisis in Syria.
Russia and the U.S. have both been flying combat missions in Syria for months and had an open communication channel to make sure they didn't hit each other, but relations soured again when a U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Aleppo fell apart late last month.
The result was Secretary of State John Kerry threatening to stop all talks and cooperation with Russia in the region unless Russia ends its bombing of Aleppo in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Then late last week, Kerry said Russia and Syria should be investigated for war crimes.
All this led Mikhail Gorbachev to tell the state-operated RIA Novosti that ending talks is not the way to solve the crisis.
"I think the world has reached a dangerous point," Gorbachev said on Monday. "I don't want to give any concrete prescriptions, but I do want to say that this needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue. Stopping it was the biggest mistake."
Gorbachev led the Soviet Union from 1985-91, when the country became modern-day Russia. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Price in 1990 for "his leading role in the peace process which today characterizes important parts of the international community."
He has also been critical of Putin for having "castrated" the blooming democracy Gorbachev helped put in place and urged the Russian president not to seek re-election in 2012.
"Putin and his team are for stability, but stability kills development and results in stagnation," Gorbachev told the BBC in 2011. "The electoral system we had was nothing remarkable, but they have literally castrated it."
The former leader urged world leaders to "return to the main priorities": nuclear disarmament, fighting terrorism and preventing an environmental disaster.
"The worst thing that has happened in recent years is the collapse of trust in relations between major powers," he said. "The window to a nuclear weapon-free world ... is being shut and sealed right before our eyes."