A top Russian diplomat to the United Nations resigned in style on Monday, writing a scathing letter that sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin for the war in Ukraine.
What did the letter say?
Boris Bondarev, counselor at the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, circulated a letter among his colleagues in Geneva explaining why he decided to resign.
In the letter, Bondarev held nothing back.
"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 of this year," Bondarev explained in the letter.
"The aggressive war unleashed by Putin against Ukraine, and in fact against the entire Western world, is not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia, with a bold letter Z crossing out all hopes and prospects for a prosperous free society in our country," he continued.
Bondarev worked for the Russian Foreign Ministry for 20 years. Over his tenure of service, the professionalism of the Russian Foreign Ministry, he said, has devolved from "unbiased information, impartial analysis and sober forecasting" to "propaganda clichés in the spirit of Soviet newspapers of the 1930s."
"Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy," Bondarev said. "It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy."
Speaking directly about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Bondarev wrote:
Minister Lavrov is a good illustration of the degradation of this system. In 18 years, he went from a professional and educated intellectual, whom many my colleagues held in such high esteem. to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world (that is, Russia too) with nuclear weapons!
Is he defecting?
Bondarev told the Associated Press that he has no plans to leave Geneva. However, when asked whether he would defect, Bondarev told the news outlet that he "didn’t think so far" ahead.
Meanwhile, the career diplomat also said he is concerned about Moscow's reaction. He is now the highest-ranking Russian official to publicly criticize the war.
"If my case is prosecuted, then if other people want to follow, they would not," Bondarev told the AP.