A Russian diplomat has quit his position at the United Nations (UN) because he is "ashamed" of his country's invasion of Ukraine.
Boris Bondarev wrote a damning resignation letter in which he said he was "ashamed" of his country and called president Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine a "crime".
Bondarev had been Russia's counsellor to the UN in Geneva, but stepped down on Monday, Swiss human rights group UN Watch reported.
He is the most senior diplomat to stand down since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.
In his farewell statement shared with other diplomats, Bondarev, who has been counsellor of the Russian Mission to the UN Office at Geneva since 2019, wrote: “Never have I been so ashamed of my country.
"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 as on 24 February of this year.
"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.
"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. To achieve that they are willing to sacrifice as many lives as it takes. Thousands of Russians and Ukrainians have already died just for this."
Bondarev accused the Russian ministry of foreign affairs of rejecting diplomacy for "warmongering, lies and hatred".
He added: "Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.
"I studied to be a diplomat and have been a diplomat for 20 years. The ministry has become my home and family. But I simply cannot any longer share in this bloody, witless and absolutely needless ignominy."
UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said: “Boris Bondarev is a hero.
“We are now calling on all other Russian diplomats at the United Nations — and worldwide — to follow his moral example and resign.”
He called on the US, the UK and the EU to create a programme to encourage more Russian diplomats to follow suit by ensuring their security.