Boris Bondarev, 41, (pictured) resigned on Monday morning after 20 years in the diplomatic service before sending a letter to 40 diplomats in which he said he had never been 'so ashamed of my country' following Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine
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A veteran Russian diplomat to the UN office in Geneva quit over Vladimir Putin’s ‘intolerable’ invasion of Ukraine and lashed out at the Kremlin’s ‘warmongering, lies and hatred’ in a scathing letter to foreign colleagues.

Boris Bondarev, 41, resigned on Monday morning after 20 years in the diplomatic service before sending a letter to 40 diplomats in which he said he had never been ‘so ashamed of my country’ following Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

In the letter, he condemned the ‘the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world’.

‘It is intolerable what my government is doing now,’ Bondarev, a diplomat at Russia’s permanent mission at the UN, said in an interview after resigning. ‘As a civil servant, I have to carry a share of responsibility for that, and I don’t want to do that.’ 

The resignation amounts to a rare – if not unprecedented – public admission of disgruntlement about Russia’s war in Ukraine among the Russian diplomatic corps.

It comes at a time when Putin’s government has sought to crack down on dissent over the invasion and quell conflicting narratives from the government line about how the ‘special military operation’ – as the war is known in Russia – is proceeding. 

Boris Bondarev, 41, (pictured) resigned on Monday morning after 20 years in the diplomatic service before sending a letter to 40 diplomats in which he said he had never been 'so ashamed of my country' following Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine

Boris Bondarev, 41, (pictured) resigned on Monday morning after 20 years in the diplomatic service before sending a letter to 40 diplomats in which he said he had never been ‘so ashamed of my country’ following Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine

In the letter sent to diplomats, Bondarev condemned the 'the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world'

In the letter sent to diplomats, Bondarev condemned the ‘the aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and in fact against the entire Western world’

The veteran Russian diplomat to the UN office in Geneva quit over Vladimir Putin's 'intolerable' invasion of Ukraine and lashed out at the Kremlin's 'warmongering, lies and hatred' in a scathing letter to foreign colleagues

The veteran Russian diplomat to the UN office in Geneva quit over Vladimir Putin’s ‘intolerable’ invasion of Ukraine and lashed out at the Kremlin’s ‘warmongering, lies and hatred’ in a scathing letter to foreign colleagues

‘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 Feb. 24 of this year,’ Bondarev wrote in a scathing letter to diplomats, alluding to the date of Russia’s invasion.

After handing in his resignation, Bondarev said he had 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.’

Bondarev said he raised his concerns about the invasion with senior embassy staff several times. ‘I was told to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid ramifications,’ he said.

Asked if some colleagues felt the same, he added: ‘Not all Russian diplomats are warmongering. They are reasonable, but they have to keep their mouths shut.’

Bondarev wrote in his letter that the invasion was ‘not only a crime against the Ukrainian people but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia’.

He said the letter ‘Z’ – which has been daubed on Russian tanks and vehicles in Ukraine and has come to symbolise support for the war – was ‘crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country’.

Bondarev added that those who conceived the 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.’

‘Russia no longer has allies and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy,’ he added.

Bondarev (pictured) said he raised his concerns about the invasion with senior embassy staff several times. 'I was told to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid ramifications,' he said

Bondarev (pictured) said he raised his concerns about the invasion with senior embassy staff several times. ‘I was told to keep my mouth shut in order to avoid ramifications,’ he said

He railed against the growing ‘lies and unprofessionalism’ in the Russian Foreign Ministry and took particular aim at Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who he said in’18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!’

‘Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred.

‘I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.’

Bondarev has since suggested his case could become an example.

‘If my case is prosecuted, then if other people want to follow, they would not,’ he suggested. 

Bondarev said that he had no plans to leave Geneva.

Hiller Neuer, executive director of the advocacy group U.N. Watch, said simply: ‘Boris Bondarev is a hero.’ 

He added: ‘Bondarev should be invited to speak in Davos this week and the U.S., the U.K. and the EU should lead the free world in creating a program to encourage more Russian diplomats to follow and defect, by providing protection, financial security and resettlement for diplomats and their families.’

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