Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, 82, gives an interview to The Associated Press at the International Government Communication Forum, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Feb. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Al Moutasim Al Maskery)
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The political turmoil in Ukraine looks like "a real mess," but it is important that the country hold together in the battle for influence between Russia and the West, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said Monday.In an interview with the Associated Press, the 82-year-old Gorbachev emphasized the need for outside mediation to ease tensions in Ukraine, which became an independent country following the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union that he once led. Ukraine is deeply divided between largely pro-Russian eastern regions and western areas that long for closer ties with the European Union. Gorbachev became the Soviet leader in March 1985 and soon began promoting the policies of using "glasnost," or openness, and "perestroika," or restructuring.Gorbachev suggested Monday that no single outside power could dominate Ukraine's future.
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