Top Russian diplomat to UN resigns over Ukraine war

A senior diplomat who was part of Russia’s permanent mission to the U.N. resigned Monday over Moscow’s “aggressive” war in Ukraine and “unprofessionalism” in the country’s diplomatic corps.

“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 February 24,” Boris Bondarev wrote in a post on social media, referring to the day Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to launch their full-scale assault on Ukraine.

“The aggressive war unleashed by Putin … is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia,” he said, “with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country.”

Bondarev, a career diplomat who has served in Russia’s diplomatic service since 2002, has been a counselor for the country’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva since 2019. According to his LinkedIn profile, he specialized in arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.

His departure is the second time a top Russian official has resigned since the war began. In March, Anatoly Chubais — Moscow’s climate envoy and longtime aide to Putin — quit, but refrained from commenting publicly about the reason.

Bondarev also took aim at Moscow’s diplomatic elite in his resignation post, arguing Russia’s foreign affairs ministry today “is all about warmongering, lies and hatred.”

“Over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing … in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic,” he wrote.

Singling out Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Bondarev said the long-serving politician embodied this “degradation” of the system. “In 18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual, whom many my colleagues held in such high esteem [sic], to a person who constantly … threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!”

Bondarev did not immediately respond to a request for comment by POLITICO.