“I have never been so ashamed of my country,” Boris Bondarev, a diplomat with the Moscow mission at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland, said in a resignation letter.
A two-decade veteran of Russian diplomacy, Bondarev announced his resignation in an email to diplomats in Geneva on Monday. It is the highest-profile protest gesture ever made by a Russian diplomat over the invasion of Ukraine.
“During the twenty years of my diplomatic career, I have seen different turns in our foreign policy, but I have never felt as ashamed of my country as on February 24 this year,” Bondarev said, referring to the date President Vladimir V. Putin sent Russian military to Ukraine.
“The war of aggression unleashed by Putin against Ukraine and, indeed, 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.
Russian diplomats in Geneva anonymously confirmed to the AP agency and other US media that they had received the email. Contacted by phone by The New York Times, Bondarev confirmed that he had also sent the message to several dozen colleagues in other missions and said that he had tendered his resignation on Monday morning.
Russia’s mission to the United Nations in Geneva said its spokesman said it would “in due course” issue a statement.
Bondarev, a mid-ranking diplomat dealing with disarmament issues, delivered a harsh denunciation of Russia’s leadership.
“Those who conceived this war want only one thing: to stay in power forever, to live in pompous and insipid palaces, to sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian navy, to enjoy unlimited power and complete impunity,” he said. your email to diplomats. “To achieve this, they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as necessary.”
He added: “It has been three months since my government launched a bloody attack on Ukraine and it has been very difficult to keep my mind more or less sane when everyone was losing theirs.”
Bondarev admitted that he should have resigned earlier, “three months ago”, but delayed because he had unfinished family business and “had to gather my resolve”.
The now former Russian diplomat continued with a scathing criticism of Russia’s foreign service and its boss, Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov. The Ministry was home to him, he said, but in the past twenty years the lies and lack of professionalism had reached levels he described as “simply catastrophic.”
“Today the Foreign Ministry is not about diplomacy. It is about warmongering, lies and hate », she stressed.
And in this Lavrov was “a good example of the degradation of this system,” Bondarev said. In 18 years, in his opinion, the Russian foreign minister went from being a professional and educated intellectual esteemed by his colleagues to threatening the world with nuclear weapons.
“I simply cannot share this bloody, stupid and absolutely unnecessary ignominy anymore,” Bondarev wrote.