Mikhail Gorbachev ’emotionally crushed’ in final days – Putin’s invasion ‘a big blow’ | World | News

The former USSR leader died in Moscow on Tuesday after a long illness. But Vladimir Putin‘s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told a media conference that the current Russian president would not attend the funeral of the Soviet Union leader.

The service will be held on Saturday with “elements” of a state funeral.

Putin will not attend due to “schedule” conflicts, according to Peskov.

The Russian president described the last leader of the Soviet Union as a man who found his “own solutions to urgent problems” earlier this week.

He said he had a “huge impact on the course of world history” in a time of “dramatic changes”.

Putin added: “He led our country during a period of complex, dramatic changes, large-scale foreign policy, economic and social challenges.”

He said the leader, who was in charge when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, “deeply understood that reforms were necessary, he strove to offer his own solutions to urgent problems”.

However, it has now been claimed that Gorbachev, who oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union after he took power in the mid-1980s, was “crushed” by Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

The late leader’s former interpreter claimed the worsening relationship between Russia and Ukraine was “really, really a big blow” to Gorbachev.

READ MORE: Poland demands WW2 reparations from Germany

The interpreter worked with Gorbachev for just under four decades.

He said he spoke with the ex-USSR leader just weeks before his death.

Gorbachev was a controversial and divisive figure, often blamed within Russia for the collapse of the USSR under his policies of opening the union up to the rest of the world.

But he is more often perceived in the West as a politician who succeeded in ending the Cold War without bloodshed.

US President Joe BIden called Gorbachev a “rare leader” who had a firm belief in a “better world”.

He pinpointed his work with the then-US President, Ronald Reagan, in dialling down nuclear tensions that remained high throughout the Cold War.

He said in a statement: “As leader of the USSR, he worked with President Reagan to reduce our two countries’ nuclear arsenals, to the relief of people worldwide praying for an end to the nuclear arms race.”

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