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Gorbachev urges Putin, Obama to help end Ukraine crisis

Published on Jan 23, 2014 10:56 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urged the presidents of Russia and the United States on Thursday to help broker negotiations to end violent protests in Ukraine, which he said was facing a possible "catastrophe".

At least three people died in the latest clashes this week between anti-government protesters and riot police in Kiev. On Thursday, President Viktor Yanukovich called for an emergency session of parliament to discuss the crisis.

Mr Gorbachev, 82, a Nobel Peace laureate whose reforms helped end the Cold War but led to the Soviet Union's demise, appealed to Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama to help Ukraine resolve the conflict peacefully.

"Without the help, without the cooperation of authoritative representatives of our two countries this (situation) could lead to catastrophe," Mr Gorbachev, who has Ukrainian heritage, said in an open letter posted on his foundation's website.

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