Former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev says the collapse of the Berlin Wall demonstrates how important good relations between Germany and Russia are for the entire world.

Gorbachev spoke to a crowd at the former site of Berlin's famous Checkpoint Charlie crossing point Friday, two days before the 25th anniversary of the Wall's fall.

The elder statesman, who kept Soviet troops stationed in East Germany in their barracks the night of Nov. 9, 1989, said that "as long as Russians and Germans understand each other, as long as our relationship is good, then everyone benefits."

Ties between Berlin and Moscow have been strained recently by the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Gorbachev said that "we must make sure that we get the tensions that have arisen recently under control."