A Russian diplomat who worked at the country's permanent mission to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva has resigned over the Ukraine war.

This was reported by the Swiss non-governmental organization "UN Watch" on Monday and published a statement by the man, Boris Bondaryev.

Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

  • Follow I follow

The organization declared him the longest-serving or highest-ranking (“most senior”) Russian diplomat who had defected since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine.

"UN Watch" published a statement by Bondaryev, which the diplomat described to the Moscow newspaper "Kommersant" as authentic.

In it, Bondaryev writes in English that he has worked for the Russian Foreign Ministry since 2002 and has been in his current position in Geneva since 2019.

Bondaryev said he had never been as ashamed of his country as he was on February 24 of this year, referring to the attack on that day.

President Vladimir Putin has launched a "war of aggression against Ukraine, and indeed against the whole western world".

No more hope for a free society

The war was "not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but perhaps also the most serious crime against the Russian people".

The letter "Z" - which in Russia stands for support of "special operations" and of Putin himself - "destroys all hopes and prospects for a prosperous, free society in our country," Bondaryev said.

Those who dreamed up the war wanted to remain in power for life, “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 complete impunity.”

For this, the rulers are “ready to sacrifice as many lives as it takes”.

Referring to his own ministry, Bondaryev wrote that "the level of lies and unprofessionalism" has risen steadily over the past twenty years, but has become "simply catastrophic" in recent years.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs no longer serves diplomacy, but "warmongering, lies and hatred" only serves the interests of the powerful and "thus contributes to the further isolation and degradation of my country," said Bondaryev.

"Russia has no more allies" and only its own "ruthless and poorly thought-out policy" is to blame.

Bondaryev concluded by saying that the Foreign Ministry had become his "home and family".

"But I just can't take part in this bloody, senseless and totally unnecessary shame any longer."

Bondaryev told Kommersant that he had not discussed his decision with colleagues and had not yet thought about further plans.

The Russian newspaper also reported that it knew the names of other diplomats who had resigned after the start of the "special operation" - as the war in Russia has to be called - but almost none of them had made any public statements.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (whose personal "demotion" in 18 years in office Bondaryev now also criticized) had recently praised his diplomats, according to "Kommersant", in whose ranks no "traitors" had been found, "although such attempts from abroad and also within the country have been undertaken".

UN Watch director Hillel Neuer called Bondaryev a "hero" and called on other Russian diplomats to "follow the moral example and resign."