A pro-Russian separatist fires at Ukrainian soldiers in the vicinity of the eastern Ukrainian city of Debaltseve, in the Donetsk region, on January 28, 2015
Moscow (AFP) - The last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday accused the United States of drawing Russia into a new Cold War and said he feared hostilities could escalate into armed conflict.
The United States "has already drawn us into a new Cold War, trying openly to achieve its main idea of triumphalism," Gorbachev said in an interview with the Interfax news agency.
"Where will that lead all of us? A Cold War is already being waged openly. What's next?" asked the 83-year-old former Soviet president who during his time in power eased relations with the West but is vilified in Russia for allowing the breakup of the USSR.
"Unfortunately I cannot say for sure that a Cold War won't lead to a 'hot' one. I fear they could take the risk," Gorbachev said, apparently referring to the United States.
Gorbachev in November last year warned that the world was "on the brink of a new Cold War."
In his latest comments, Gorbachev criticised the West for imposing sanctions on Russia.
"All you hear is about sanctions towards Russia from America and the European Union. Have they totally lost their heads?" Gorbachev asked.
In December last year, Gorbachev in an article urged the US and the EU to "defrost relations" with Russia.
Gorbachev in the past has harshly criticised President Vladimir Putin for an "imitation" of democracy. But recently he has backed the Kremlin line, saying that the world should welcome the annexation of Crimea by Russia for correcting a historic mistake.