Geneva (The Times Groupe)- A top Russian diplomat at the UN mission in Geneva announced Monday that he was resigning over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a rare resignation over the conflict.
Boris Bondarev, who worked on arms control at the Russian permanent mission to the UN, told Reuters: “I went to work like any other Monday morning, forwarded my resignation letter, and walked out.”
“This is something I’ve been imagining for a few years, but the scale of this disaster made me do it,” he said, referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24.
Several times, he said, he raised his concerns about the invasion with senior embassy staff. “I was told to keep my mouth shut to avoid any ramifications,” he said.
The Russian permanent mission to the UN did not respond immediately.
He announced his departure on LinkedIn earlier.
“I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for twenty years,” Bondarev wrote. “The (Russian foreign) ministry has become my home and family. But I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy.”
During a Human Rights Council debate in March, Ukraine called on Russian diplomats to resign. Bondarev, however, said he did not expect others to follow suit. “I’m afraid I am the only one.”
Alexei Navalny’s spokesperson, Kira Yarmysh, welcomed the resignation.
“It seems that there is only one honest person at the foreign ministry,” she wrote on Twitter.
In what it called a special operation, Russia sent thousands of troops into Ukraine in an attempt to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out what it saw as dangerous nationalists.
Russia has been subject to sweeping sanctions from the West, and Ukraine has received military support in response.