Ukraine Bans Mikhail Gorbachev over Support for Invasion of Crimea

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev speaks at the launch ceremony for a book about him entitled "Gorbachev in Life", in Moscow, Russia, on Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Mikhail Gorbachev turns 85 on Wednesday, March 3, 2016. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

On Thursday, Ukraine’s State Security Service banned ex-Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev from entering the country for five years over Gorbachev’s very vocal support of Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Crimea in 2014.

In an interview with the British Sunday Times, Gorbachev said that he agreed with Putin’s actions surrounding the crisis in Crimea and said, “he would have acted the same way as President Vladimir Putin in a similar situation.” Gorbachev went on to say: “I’m always with the free will of the people and most in Crimea wanted to be reunited with Russia.” The 85-year-old former Russian President is best known for his Perestroika reforms on the early 1990s, which ended the Cold War and, many argued, hastened the end of the Soviet Union.

A spokeswomen for Ukraine’s security service, Olena Gitlyanska, posted on Facebook Thursday describing the decision. “We have indeed banned him from entering for five years in the interests of state security, including for his public support of the military annexation of Crimea,” she confirmed.

Gorbachev responded to the ban by claiming he had no intention of visiting Ukraine: “Fine, I don’t go there and I will not go there.” He joins fellow ex-President of Italy Silvio Berlusconi, who was also banned in September because, according to Reuters, “he became the most prominent Western politician to visit Crimea, where he met Putin, an old friend and political ally.”

Mikhail Gorbachev was President of Russia from 1985-1990. He is most know for is efforts to open up Russia to the west. In America he also famous for his relationship with then-President Ronald Reagan.