Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev resigns over war in Ukraine, says he has ‘never been so ashamed of my country’ – and fears for his safety | world news

An experienced Russian diplomat has said he is concerned for his safety after he resigned over what he called the “disaster” of his country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Boris Bondarev, 41, said he was “never so ashamed of my country” and the “aggressive war” waged by President Vladimir Putin’s troops.

He said what his government was doing was “unacceptable”.

Bondarev, who worked for the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva, added: “As a civil servant, I have to bear some of the responsibility for that, and I don’t want to do that.”

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He said he “disagreed” and “disapproved” of Moscow’s current policies and “as a Russian diplomat I can no longer be associated with this”.

“I went to the mission like any other Monday morning, forwarded my letter of resignation, and walked out.”

He spoke of his fears, saying, “To my safety‚Ķ yes, I’m concerned about that, yes. There is a possibility, I think so.”

It is a rare political dismissal during the war, which started three months ago.

When asked if any of his colleagues felt the same, Bondarev said: “Not all Russian diplomats are belligerent. They are reasonable, but they should keep their mouths shut.”

Bondarev said what his government was doing was ‘unacceptable’

Bondarev, who worked as a gun control adviser, suggested that others could be dissuaded from going public as well in the event that he is prosecuted.

“If my case is prosecuted, and if other people want to follow suit, they won’t,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Sochi, Russia on May 23, 2022. Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS EDITORIAL - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Bondarev said those who decided to start the war “want only one thing: to remain in power forever, to live in pompous tacky palaces, to sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian navy, to enjoy unlimited power and full impunity”.

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He added: “Today the State Department is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred.”

The Russian envoy announced his departure on the LinkedIn website.

“I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for 20 years,” he wrote.

“The [Russian foreign] ministry has become my home and family. But I just can no longer share in this bloody, senseless and absolutely unnecessary shame.”

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He also said he had no intention of leaving Geneva.

He said: “[I] I don’t know what I’m going to do next yet. I’m thinking about it, but I think if I have to go back to Russia, maybe the prospects aren’t very pleasant.”

The West has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia and provided military aid to Ukraine in response to the invasion.

Hiller Neuer, executive director of the UN Watch advocacy group, said: “Boris Bondarev is a hero.”

A spokesman for the Russian mission did not immediately respond to calls.

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