The former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has blamed the US for the current state of relations between Russia and the West. In a BBC interview, Mr Gorbachev said that the Russians were ready to be constructive, but America was trying to squeeze them out of global diplomacy.
Mr Gorbachev accused America of "empire-building". Moscow and the West have been in dispute over Iraq, America's plans for a missile defense system and civil rights within Russia itself.
In an interview with Radio Four, Mr Gorbachev said relations between Russia and the West were in a bad state. "It's worse than I expected," he said through a translator.
"I don't understand why you, the British, did not tell them, 'Don't think about empire, we know about empires, we know that all empires break up in the end, so why start again to create a new mess.'"