Gorbachev calls for Ukraine unity

SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (AP) – Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev says it is important that Ukraine hold together, emphasizing the battle for influence between Russia and the West in the crisis roiling the country.

Gorbachev made the comments in an interview Monday with The Associated Press in the United Arab Emirates city of Sharjah.

He told a conference there a day earlier that the months of protests that drove President Viktor Yanukovych from office stemmed from his government’s failure to act democratically.

The former Soviet leader told AP that the people of Ukraine have a “common history” and that an attempt by the European Union, the United States or Russia to “have things their own way … would be wrong.”

Ukraine is deeply divided between largely pro-Russian eastern regions and western areas that long for closer ties with the European Union.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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