Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

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.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo