Russian diplomat resigns from UN office in Geneva over Ukraine war
Jamey Keaten Davos, Switzerland, The Associated Press
A veteran Russian diplomat to the U.N. Office at Geneva says he handed in his resignation before sending out a scathing letter to foreign colleagues inveighing against the “aggressive war unleashed” by President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.
Boris Bondarev, 41, confirmed his resignation in a letter delivered Monday morning at the Russian diplomatic mission after a diplomatic official passed on his English-language statement to The Associated Press.
“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,” he wrote, alluding to the date of Russia’s invasion.
Reached by phone, Bondarev – a diplomatic counsellor who has focused on Russia’s role in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva after postings in places like Cambodia and Mongolia – confirmed he handed in his resignation in a letter addressed to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov.
A spokesman for the mission didn’t immediately respond to calls and a text message from the AP seeking comment.
The resignation amounts to a rare – if not unprecedented – public admission of disgruntlement about Russia’s war in Ukraine among the Russian diplomatic corps, at a time when Putin’s government has sought to crack down on dissent over the invasion and sought to quell conflicting narratives from the government line about how the “special military operation” – as it’s officially known in Russia – is proceeding.
“It is intolerable what my government is doing now,” Bondarev told the AP. “As a civil servant, I have to carry a share of responsibility for that, and I don’t want to do that.”
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.”
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.”