Home International Russian diplomat resigns protesting Putin’s ’aggressive war’

Russian diplomat resigns protesting Putin’s ’aggressive war’

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A diplomat at Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva has resigned over the war in Ukraine, writing that he has never been ’so ashamed’ of his country.

A view shows destroyed buildings located near Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, May 22, 2022. Picture: Reuters/Pavel Klimov

A DIPLOMAT at Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva has resigned over the war in Ukraine, writing that he has never been “so ashamed” of his country, in a rare public rebuke of the war from within the Russian government.

In a letter circulated to colleagues in Geneva and posted on a LinkedIn account in his name, Boris Bondarev, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, said he had left the civil service on Monday.

“For twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy, but never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year,” he wrote, referring to the date the invasion was launched.

“The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country.”

Reached by phone by the Associated Press on Monday, Bondarev confirmed that he had handed in his resignation in a letter addressed to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov. He told the AP he had no plans to leave Geneva.

The letter takes aim at the ministry where he worked. “I regret to admit that over all these 20 years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time. However, in recent years, this has become simply catastrophic,” he wrote.

The ministry of today, he writes “is not about diplomacy,” but “warmongering, lies and hatred”.

Anatoly Chubais, Putin’s special representative on sustainable development resigned and left Russia in March, but did not publicly comment on his reasons for departing.

An online directory for the UN in Geneva lists Bondarev as counsellor at the Russian Federation’s mission. The LinkedIn profile in his name says he specialises in arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation and suggests he has been in his current role since 2019.

“Boris Bondarev is a hero,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based non-governmental organisation, who circulated a copy of the Russian diplomat’s letter on Twitter.

“We are now calling on all other Russian diplomats at the United Nations – and worldwide – to follow his moral example and resign.”

“This is an unbelievable letter below from a top Russian diplomat denouncing Putin in no uncertain terms,” tweeted Bill Browder, the founder of Hermitage Capital and a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This is the language that all Russian officials and oligarchs should use if they have any chance of being treated gently by the West.”

“I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for 20 years. The Ministry has become my home and family,” Bondarev’s statement says. “But I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.”

– The Washington Post

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