Mikhail Gorbachev during a presentation for his book
Russia

Former Soviet Union Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Warns Of 'Colossal' World Danger

Tensions between Russian and the West should prompt a nuclear weapons ban, Mr Gorbachev says.

Mikhail Gorbachev during a presentation for his book

Mr Gorbachev has called on nations to rid the world of nuclear weapons (Picture: DPA/PA).

Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader who presided over the fall of the Soviet Union, says the world is in "colossal" danger. 

He told the BBC that the current tensions between Russia and the West pose a huge threat, not least the potential use of nuclear weapons.

Mr Gorbachev has called on all sides to work to rid the world of them.

In 1987, the former Soviet leader and US President Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty - an agreement between America and the Soviet Union to ban all land-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometres.

In August this year, the both the US and Russia announced their official withdrawn from the Cold War treaty, with the United States blaming Russia for the treaty's demise.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the US that if it walked out of the key arms treaty and started developing banned missiles then Moscow would do the same.

By the end of August, the US had tested a medium-range cruise missile off the coast of Los Angeles.

Then-President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev speak after signing the INF treaty in 1987 (Pictures: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library).

Since the breakdown, fears of a new arms race have risen.

Recently, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance must "consider how to develop new rules and standards" in arms control, declaring it is "under serious stress" as new technology emerges.

Mr Stoltenberg said Russia has been "violating" the treaty for years and have "ignored repeated calls" to return to compliance.

"No treaty can keep us safe if it is just respected by one side," he said.

During his interview with the BBC, Mr Gorbachev said, " As long as weapons of mass destruction exist... the danger is colossal.

"All nations should declare... that nuclear weapons must be destroyed.

"This is to ourselves and our planet."