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Russian UN diplomat in Geneva resigns over war in Ukraine

DAVOS – A veteran Russian diplomat at the UN office in Geneva says he tendered his resignation before sending a scathing letter to foreign colleagues protesting the “war of aggression” unleashed in Ukraine by President Vladimir Putin.

Boris Bondarev, 41, confirmed his resignation in a letter delivered at the Russian diplomatic mission on Monday morning after a diplomatic official forwarded his English-language statement to The Associated Press.

“Twenty years of my diplomatic career I have seen various turns in our foreign policy, but never have I been as ashamed of my country as I was on February 24 this year,” he wrote, referring to the date of the Russian invasion.

Bondarev – a diplomatic adviser who has focused on Russia’s role at the Geneva conference on disarmament after stints in countries such as Cambodia and Mongolia – was reached by phone and in a letter to Ambassador Gennady Gatilov confirmed that he had tendered his resignation.

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A spokesman for the mission did not immediately respond to calls and a text message from the AP asking for comment.

The resignation comes down to a rare — if not unprecedented — public admission of dissatisfaction over Russia’s war in Ukraine in Russia’s diplomatic corps, at a time when Putin’s government has sought to crack down on disagreements over the invasion and quash conflicting narratives along the line of government on how the “military special operation” – as it is officially called in Russia – is progressing.

“It is unbearable what my government is doing now,” Bondarev told the AP. “As a civil servant, I have to take responsibility for that, and I don’t want that.”

Bondarev said he has yet to receive any response from Russian officials, but added: “Am I concerned about the possible response from Moscow? I have to worry.”

When asked if some colleagues felt the same way, he added: “Not all Russian diplomats are warmongers. They’re reasonable, but they have to shut up.”

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He suggested that his case could become an example.

“If my case is prosecuted then other people wouldn’t do it if they wanted to follow,” he suggested.

In his English-language statement, which he emailed to about 40 diplomats and others, Bondarev said those who conceived the war “want only one thing — to remain in power forever, to live in pompous, tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian Navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity.”

He railed against the growing “lies and unprofessionalism” in Russia’s foreign ministry, specifically targeting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who, he said, “in 18 years has gone from being a professional and educated intellectual…to a person who constantly spreads contradictory statements and threatens the world (including Russia) with nuclear weapons!”

“Today, the State Department is not about diplomacy. It’s about warmongering, lies and hate.”

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Bondarev told the AP he has no plans to leave Geneva.

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

“Bondarev should be invited to speak in Davos this week,” he added, “and the US, UK and EU should lead the free world in creating a program to encourage more Russian diplomats to follow them and migrate.” by providing financial protection, security and resettlement for diplomats and their families.”

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/05/23/russian-diplomat-to-un-in-geneva-resigns-over-war-in-ukraine/ Russian UN diplomat in Geneva resigns over war in Ukraine

Sarah Y. Kim

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