World hails ‘one-of-a-kind’ ex-Soviet leader Gorbachev

In a file photo taken on Dec 21, 2004, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin talk during a press conference in Germany. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP, REUTERS) - Mikhail Gorbachev, who ended the Cold War without bloodshed but failed to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union, died on Tuesday (Aug 30) at the age of 91, hospital officials in Moscow said.

Below are some reactions from around the world:

Russian President Vladimir Putin

He expressed "his deepest condolences", his spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Interfax news agency. "Tomorrow he will send a telegram of condolences to his family and friends."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

"I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Mikhail Gorbachev, a one-of-a kind statesman who changed the course of history. He did more than any other individual to bring about the peaceful end of the Cold War.

"The world has lost a towering global leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace."

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen

"Mikhail Gorbachev was a trusted and respected leader. He played a crucial role to end the Cold War and bring down the Iron Curtain. It opened the way for a free Europe ... This legacy is one we will not forget."

Former US Secretary of State James Baker III

"History will remember Mikhail Gorbachev as a giant who steered his great nation towards democracy. He played the critical role in a peaceful conclusion of the Cold War by his decision against using force to hold the empire together ... The free world misses him greatly."

French President Emmanuel Macron

Macron described Gorbachev as a “man of peace” on Twitter early on Wednesday, saying he “opened a path of liberty for Russians. His commitment to peace in Europe changed our shared history”.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

"I always admired the courage & integrity he showed in bringing the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion ... In a time of Putin's aggression in Ukraine, his tireless commitment to opening up Soviet society remains an example to us all."

The Reagan Foundation and Institute

"The Reagan Foundation and Institute mourns the loss of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, a man who once was a political adversary of Ronald Reagan's who ended up becoming a friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Gorbachev family and the people of Russia."

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