A veteran Russian diplomat at the UN office in Geneva resigned on Monday, writing in a bombshell letter that he was “ashamed” of playing a role in Russia’s “bloody, mindless and utterly unnecessary” war in Ukraine.
Boris Bondarev, 41, who posed on LinkedIn as an adviser to Russia’s permanent mission to the United Nations on arms control, told Reuters he came to work “like any other Monday morning”, resigned and left straight away.
He then sent an English-language letter to overseas colleagues explaining his potentially risky — if not unprecedented — move.
“Twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen various turns in our foreign policy, but never have I been as ashamed of my country as I was on February 24 this year,” he wrote, referring to the date of the Russian invasion.
“The war of aggression unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and actually against the entire western world is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but perhaps the most heinous crime against the people of Russia, crossed out with a bold letter Z hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country,” Bondarev continued.
The ex-diplomat, whose career has included previous posts in places including Cambodia and Mongolia, confirmed he had tendered his resignation in a letter addressed to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov.
“I started imagining this a few years ago, but the scale of this disaster pushed me to do it,” he told Reuters of his decision to quit Russia’s diplomatic service.
He said he has repeatedly expressed his concerns about the war in Ukraine to senior embassy officials. “I’ve been told to shut up to avoid consequences,” he said.
In a separate interview with AP, Bondarev said his government’s actions were “intolerable” for him.
“As a civil servant, I have to take responsibility for that, and I don’t want that,” he said.
He elaborated on this idea further in his suicide note, in which he wrote: “I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for twenty years. The (Russian Foreign) Ministry has become my home and family. But I just can’t take this bloody, mindless and absolutely unnecessary disgrace any longer.”
Bondarev said he has yet to receive any response from Russian officials, but added: “Am I concerned about the possible response from Moscow? I have to worry.”
When asked if some colleagues felt the same way, he added: “Not all Russian diplomats are warmongers. They’re reasonable, but they have to shut up.”
He suggested that the Kremlin might decide to make an example of him to dissuade other dissenters from following in his footsteps.
In his scathing statement, which he emailed to about 40 diplomats and others, Bondarev said those who conceived the war “want only one thing — to stay in power forever, to live in pompous, tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and price to the entire Russian Navy, which enjoys unlimited power and complete impunity.”
He railed against the growing “lies and unprofessionalism” in Russia’s foreign ministry and criticized Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who, he said, “in 18 years has gone from being a professional and educated intellectual … to a person who constantly spreads contradictory statements and threatens the world.” (including Russia) with nuclear weapons!”
“Today, the State Department is not about diplomacy. It’s about warmongering, lies and hate.”
Bondarev said he has no plans to leave Geneva.
Hiller Neuer, executive director of the advocacy group UN Watch, called Bondarev “a hero” for publicly speaking out against his government.
“Bondarev should be invited to speak in Davos this week,” he added, “and the US, UK and EU should lead the free world in creating a program to encourage more Russian diplomats to follow them and migrate.” by providing financial protection, security and resettlement for diplomats and their families.”
With mail wires
https://nypost.com/2022/05/23/russian-diplomat-to-un-resigns-over-needless-ukraine-war/ Russian UN diplomat resigns over ‘unnecessary’ Ukraine war