Russian Diplomat Quits Citing ‘Shame’ Over Russian Invasion Of Ukraine
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A Russian diplomat in Geneva said on Monday he had resigned from his role, contending that in his 20 years of service he had never “been so ashamed” of his country as he was for its “aggressive war” in Ukraine, marking one of the most high-profile rejections of Russia’s invasion from within the government to date.

Key Facts

In a letter sent to colleagues and posted on his LinkedIn page, Boris Bondarev—who served as a counsellor at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva—wrote those who “conceived” the war in Ukraine want “only one thing”: to “remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces” and enjoy “complete impunity.”

Bondarev called Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a “good illustration” of the degradation of the government, claiming he turned from a “professional and educated intellectual” to a “person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world.”

Bondarev added he could no longer “share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.”

He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes, but confirmed his resignation letter to the Associated Press.

Russia’s Mission to the UN in Geneva declined to comment, but said it would issue a statement soon.

Crucial Quote

“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,” Bondarev wrote.

Key Background

The letter marks one of the harshest criticisms of Russia’s war efforts from within its government since the country began its invasion of Ukraine in February. Former Russian climate envoy Anatoly Chubais became the most senior official to depart when he quit in March, with reports suggesting he fled the country because of his opposition to the war. Bondarev said he should have resigned at the start of the Russian invasion, according to the New York Times, but delayed the move to “gather” his “resolve” and deal with family matters. In his letter, Bondarev said he had witnessed a rise in “lies and unprofessionalism” within Russia’s Foreign Ministry during his 20 years of service, calling the most recent years “simply catastrophic.” The resignation comes amid reports last week Russia was scaling down its mission in Ukraine, though Russia also claimed it would do so in March. Russian offensive operations, including attack units, are shrinking in size, suggesting the country may be downgrading its goals, a Department of Defense official told reporters last week.

Further Reading

Russian diplomat resigns protesting Putin’s ‘aggressive war’ (Washington Post)

Russian diplomat resigns over Ukraine war (Associated Press)

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