The United States grew “arrogant and self-confident” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the expansion of the NATO military alliance, former leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Friday. In recent years President Vladimir Putin has grown increasingly insistent that NATO is encroaching close to Russia’s borders, and Moscow last week demanded “legal guarantees” that the US-led alliance halt its eastward expansion. Gorbachev resigned as president of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991, days after the leaders of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine said the USSR no longer existed. “How can one count on equal relations with the United States and the West in such a position,” Gorbachev told state news agency RIA Novosti on the eve of the anniversary of his resignation as the leader of the USSR. He said there was a “triumphant mood in the West, especially in the United States” after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. “They grew arrogant and self-confident. They declared victory in the Cold War,” said the 90-year-old. He insisted Moscow and Washington were “together” in pulling the world out of confrontation and the nuclear race. “No, the ‘winners’ decided to build a new empire. Hence the idea of NATO expansion,” Gorbachev added. However, he welcomed forthcoming security talks between Moscow and Washington. “I hope there will be a result,” he said. Last week Moscow presented the West with sweeping security demands, saying NATO must not admit new members and seeking to bar the US from establishing new bases in former Soviet countries.