A 20-year veteran of Russia's diplomatic service announced his resignation Monday in protest of his country's war on Ukraine, multiple media outlets reported.
In a rare public protest by a Russian official, Boris Bondarev, a diplomat posted to Russia's mission to the United Nations in Geneva, posted a statement on a LinkedIn account condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and criticizing the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for complicity in what he described as an an "aggressive war" — language that is proscribed in Russia under wartime censorship laws.
"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 wrote, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. "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."
The respected Russian business newspaper Kommersant reached out to Bondarev, who confirmed the authenticity of the post. The New York Times confirmed the receipt of a resignation sent by email to diplomats in Geneva.
Here are more of the latest headlines from Russia's war in Ukraine:
- Kharkiv subway will resume operations after months of serving as a shelter: Ihor Terekhov, the mayor of the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, said the city's subway system would resume operations Tuesday, after months of serving as a shelter for citizens looking to escape Russian bombardment. "Tomorrow, on May 24, we will open the subway," Terekhov said in remarks on television. "All lines will be launched. Subway traffic will be from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. The intervals won't be the same as in peacetime. The subway depot was damaged during the bombing and shelling, so the intervals will be longer." During the height of the Russian bombardment of Kharkiv — Ukraine's second-largest city — many residents took refuge in the city's metro system.
- EU can reach a deal on Russia sanctions, German vice chancellor says: Robert Habeck, Germany's vice chancellor and economy minister, spoke to CNN on Monday about the war in Ukraine and Europe’s efforts to lessen dependence on Russian energy. Asked whether the European Union could reach an agreement on the next round of sanctions, including an oil embargo, he said he was confident a deal could be reached and could be done within days. “I expect everyone — also Hungary — that they work to find a solution and not saying 'OK we have an exception and then we will lay back and build on our partnership with Putin,'" he said while speaking earlier on a panel at Davos.
- More security aid for Ukraine: US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at the conclusion of the second Ukraine Contact Group meeting on Monday that 20 countries “announced new security assistance packages" for the country. Denmark has agreed to provide Ukraine with a Harpoon launcher and missiles to “help Ukraine defend its coast.” The Czech Republic also agreed to send “substantial support” to Ukraine including “a recent donation of attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems,” Austin said at a news conference at the conclusion of the meeting. “Others came forward with new commitments for training Ukraine’s forces and sustaining its military systems,” Austin added. A total of 47 countries participated in the contact group’s second meeting, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.
- Biden administration is considering sending US Special Operations Forces to protect its embassy in Kyiv: The Biden Administration is in the early stages of potentially sending special operations forces (SOF) into Ukraine for the very limited mission of helping guard the US Embassy in Kyiv, according to several US officials. The idea of using SOF is in very preliminary stages and has not yet been presented to US President Joe Biden for a decision, the sources said. The embassy was reopened last week after being closed for about three months. For now, the embassy and its limited number of personnel are protected by State Department diplomatic security officials. US Marines typically guard US embassies around the world but in Kyiv, for now, there is a general agreement that the typical Marine Corps embassy guard personnel may not be suited to the uncertain security picture in Ukraine without additional forces, officials say.
- Putin claims Russia is "withstanding the impact of sanctions": President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the Russian economy is "withstanding the impact of sanctions" despite a gloomy economic outlook for the country following the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. "Despite all the difficulties, the Russian economy is withstanding the impact of the sanctions, and withstanding it quite well," Putin said in a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi. "This is according to all the main macroeconomic indicators." Russia's Central Bank said in late April the Russian economy is expected to shrink by 8 to 10% in 2022, noting a decline in economic activity in March after the imposition of international sanctions on Russia. Earlier the same month, the World Bank predicted that Russian GDP would shrink by 11.2% in 2022.
- Global food crisis could worsen if Ukrainian port of Odesa is not opened, UN official says: The world faces a “perfect storm within a perfect storm” when it comes to the food crisis, according to the head of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley. He explained that the world is currently facing a food pricing problem but with issues over fertilizer and food production, we could “very well have a food availability problem." He added that if the port of Odesa is not opened, it will only compound the problem. There are 49 million people in 43 countries who are “knocking on famine’s door,” and the world would face famine, destabilization and mass migration if we don’t get ahead of the problem, the UN official said while speaking on a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.