A veteran Russian diplomat to the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva, on Monday, May 23, 2022, turned in his resignation and sent a statement to foreign colleagues criticising the “aggressive war unleashed” by Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in Ukraine.
Boris Bondarev, who worked as a Counsellor at Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva, told the media that “I went to the mission like any other Monday morning and I forwarded my resignation letter and I walked out”. In the statement, circulated to a number of diplomatic missions in Geneva, Bondarev condemned the invasion of Ukraine and lashed out at Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
“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,” Bondarev noted in his statement first published by UN Watch, an advocacy group. The date (February 24, 2022) referred to the exact day Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, in what President Vladimir Putin described as a “special military operation” to “de-nazify” the country (Ukraine).
“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,” the statement read. So far, there is no immediate comment from the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN.
What Does the Invasion Mean to Bondarev?
Bondarev, 41, said he worked with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for two decades and worked as a Counsellor at the country’s Mission in Geneva since 2019. The resignation represents a protest from a Russian diplomat, and it is considered rebellious, especially at a time when Putin’s government has sought to crack down on dissent over the invasion.
“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.”Boris Bondarev, veteran Russian diplomat to the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva
Criticism of Russia’s Foreign Ministry
The Russian diplomat did not spare harsh criticism of Russia’s Foreign Ministry and its Chief, Sergey Lavrov, who has been a staunch defender of Putin’s military operation.
“In 18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual, whom many of my colleagues held in such high esteem, to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!”Boris Bondarev, veteran Russian diplomat to the United Nations (UN) office in Geneva
Bondarev also noted in his statement that, Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred”.
The diplomat told the media that he has not received any reaction yet from Russian officials, but added: “Am I concerned about the possible reaction from Moscow? I have to be concerned about it”? In Bondarev’s closing statement to other diplomats who may want to follow his example, he noted saying: “If my case is prosecuted, then if other people want to follow, they would not.”
Meanwhile, Hillel Neur, UN Watch Executive Director, praised Bondarev’s move and urged other Russian Diplomats at the UN “to follow his moral example and resign”.
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