Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Body bags in Bucha, Ukraine

Policemen and forensic personnel catalogue 58 bodies of civilians killed in and around Bucha, Ukraine on April 6, 2022. A Russian diplomat on May 23 confirmed that he had resigned from his position in protest of the war, calling it "reckless and ill-conceived." (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)"

'Ashamed' of 'Warmongering' and 'Lies,' Veteran Russian Diplomat Resigns

"Am I concerned about the possible reaction from Moscow?" said Boris Bondarev. "I have to be concerned about it."

Julia Conley

A Russian diplomat on Monday issued a rare public rebuke of President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine, resigning in protest of the invasion which has killed more than 3,000 civilians, displaced more than six million, and garnered worldwide condemnation.

Boris Bondarev, a longtime diplomat to the United Nations in Geneva who has worked on disarmament issues, confirmed in a letter to his colleagues that he had resigned from his position, writing that he "simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless, and absolutely needless ignominy."

"Those who conceived this war want only one thing—to remain in power forever... enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity."

"For 20 years of my diplomatic career I have seen different turns of our foreign policy but never have I been so ashamed of my country," Bondarev wrote.

He called the war "a crime against the Ukrainian people" as well as one that will do harm to the people of Russia, "with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous and free society in our country." The letter Z has been used in Russia to symbolize support for the invasion, which the government refers to publicly only as a "special military operation."

"Those who conceived this war want only one thing—to remain in power forever, live in pompous tasteless palaces, sail on yachts comparable in tonnage and cost to the entire Russian navy, enjoying unlimited power and complete impunity," Bondarev said. "To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes."

In addition to thousands of Ukrainians, Russia's war has killed hundreds of young Russian soldiers by the government's own admission, and tens of thousands according to Ukrainian officials.

Some families of soldiers have spoken out against the war since it began in February, but a law adopted days after the invasion criminalized anti-war protests, criticism of Russian military action, and the spread of so-called "false information" about the war.

Thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting the war and a number of journalists have been charged with spreading "false information" about the war. Government employees were reportedly told they would be fired if they didn't attend a pro-war rally in March.

"Am I concerned about the possible reaction from Moscow?" Bondarev said to the Associated Press Monday. "I have to be concerned about it."

Earlier this month, the consul general of Russia in Edinburgh, Andrey Yakovlev, wrote in an Instagram post that he "categorically condemn[ed]" the war.

Russian journalist Farida Rustamova reported in March that several Kremlin officials were "privately denouncing" the invasion.

"Many understand that this is a mistake, but in the course of doing their duty they come up with explanations in order to somehow come to terms with it," Rustamova wrote.

Bondarev said Monday that he "had to gather [his] resolve" before resigning.

Putin's Ministry of Foreign Affairs "is not about diplomacy" any longer, the diplomat added. "It is all about warmongering, lies, and hatred."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo