A Russian diplomat at the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva said on Monday that he has quit over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, blasting the war as a disgrace and a crime against the people of both Ukraine and Russia.
Boris Bondarev, a mid-level diplomat who identified himself on LinkedIn as a counselor at Russia’s permanent mission to the UN who worked on arms control negotiations, wrote a statement that was shared by the news media. “Never have I been so ashamed of my country.”
A Bold Statement from a Diplomat
“Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy,” wrote the diplomat, a 20-year veteran of the Russian foreign ministry. “It is all about warmongering, lies, and hatred. It serves the interests of a few, the very few people, thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.”
While a mid-level diplomat, he’s still the highest-ranking member of the Russian government to resign in protest over the invasion. He spoke over the phone with The Guardian and said, “The decision was very simple.”
After sharing his misgivings over the invasion of Ukraine with senior members of the Russian mission staff several times, “I was told to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid ramifications,” he said.
“When you see that your country is doing the worst things and being a civil servant, you’re somehow related to that; it’s your decision just to terminate your connection with the government. We all must be responsible. And I don’t want to have any responsibility for what I don’t approve of.
“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,” he added.
A Very Public Resignation
In his letter of resignation that was shared online, he denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin and his followers inside the Kremlin, who have become rich in the corruption that is rampant in the Russian system. He wrote that he should have resigned three months ago.
“Those who conceived this war want only one thing — to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity,” he said in his statement. “To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes.
“It’s been already three months since my government launched a bloody assault on Ukraine, and it’s been very hard to keep my mind more or less sane when all about were losing theirs,” he added.
He didn’t spare the rod for his boss, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lavrov was “a good illustration of the degradation of this system,” Bondarev said. “ In 18 years, the Russian foreign minister had gone from being a professional and educated intellectual esteemed by colleagues to threatening the world with nuclear weapons.
“I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless, and absolutely needless ignominy,” Bondarev added.
A US State Department spokesperson lauded the bravery of Bondarev for publicly coming out with his stance on the war and criticized Moscow, stating that more cracks are beginning to show in Russia.
“Plummeting morale is clearly not limited to Russia’s military forces fighting in Ukraine,” the spokesperson said.
“Boris Bondarev’s statement underscores that people around the world, including in Russia and even within the Russian government, are recognizing the brutality of the Kremlin’s assault on the Ukrainian people. They are doing so despite the Kremlin’s best efforts to manufacture and perpetuate disinformation.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry has not yet responded to Bondarev’s letter of resignation or his comments immediately afterward. But they are expected to make a statement soon.
Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 10 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.