May 26, 9:48 AM EDT

The Ukrainian intelligence agency SBU says it has barred the last leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev from visiting Ukraine for the next five years


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MOSCOW (AP) -- The Ukrainian intelligence agency SBU says it has barred the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, from visiting Ukraine for the next five years.

The SBU said in a statement Thursday that this was a reaction to Gorbachev's public condoning of the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.

The Sunday Times quoted 85-year old Gorbachev as saying that he would have acted the same way as Russian President Vladimir Putin if he had found himself in a similar situation.

Gorbachev oversaw the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has been lauded worldwide for encouraging the reunification of Germany and largely allowing former Soviet satellites in eastern Europe to break away from Moscow's orbit.

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