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‘I’ve never been so ashamed of my country’ – Russian UN diplomat resigns

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A veteran Russian UN diplomat has tendered his resignation over his country’s “aggressive war” in Ukraine. In the 20 years of his diplomatic career he has experienced various turns in Russian foreign policy, explained Boris Bondarev, who most recently dealt with Russia’s role at the disarmament conference in Geneva. “But I have never been as ashamed of my country as I was on February 24 this year,” he wrote. On this day the Russian invasion of Ukraine began.

Bondarev’s statement was available to the AP news agency. “The war of aggression launched by (President Vladimir) Putin against Ukraine, indeed against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but perhaps also the most serious crime against the Russian people, to which a fat Z gives all hopes and prospects to a prosperous and free society in our country,” he wrote, alluding to the Z symbol officially supporting Russia’s war of aggression.

“What my country is doing right now is unacceptable,” Bondarev told the news agency over the phone. “As a civil servant, I have to bear some of the responsibility for this. And I don’t want to do that.” He was particularly critical of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Lies and unprofessionalism reigned supreme in his ministry. In his 18 years in office, the minister has changed from an educated intellectual to a man who constantly spread contradictory statements and threats. “The State Department today is not about diplomacy. It’s all about warmongers, lies and hate,” he said.

Bondarev said he announced his resignation in a letter to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov and emailed about 40 other diplomats. The embassy did not respond to inquiries. Such outspoken rejection of the war is rare in Russia’s diplomatic corps, especially since President Vladimir Putin’s government has cracked down on criticism of his Ukraine campaign.

When asked if he was worried about how the government in Moscow would react, Bondarev replied: “I have to be worried about that.” He has no plans to leave Geneva. Regarding the attitude of his colleagues, he said: “Not all Russian diplomats are warmongers. They’re reasonable, but they have to shut up.”

The lobby group UN-Watch praised the critical diplomat as a hero. “Bondarew should be invited to speak in Davos this week,” said UN Watch Director Hiller Neuer. The World Economic Forum is taking place there. Neuer said the US, UK and EU should initiate a program to encourage more Russian diplomats to follow Bondarev’s example. They should offer them protection, financial security and settlement opportunities for themselves and their families.

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