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Vladimir Putin is 'bluffing about nuclear threats'
Bondarev, 42, is Russia's only diplomat to publicly resign due to the war in Ukraine. The former member of Russia's delegation to the United Nations in Geneva quit in May 2022, describing the war in an open letter as 'not only a crime against the Ukrainian people, but also, perhaps, the most serious crime against the people of Russia'.
On Tuesday 21 February, Putin announced in his state-of-the-nation speech to Russia's National Assembly that Russia will no longer observe the New START treaty, the only nuclear arms control agreement shared with the United States left.
Bondarev responded to this announcement in a phone interview from Switzerland with Newsweek. He said:
Today [Putin's] bluffing and we know that he has bluffed about nuclear threats. Ukrainians recovered some parts of their territory, and there was no nuclear retaliation.
Vladimir Putin is 'not smart' and 'very short-sighted'
Bondarev also stated that Putin 'has already lost strategically' due to the fact that he 'doesn't think about the future' and didn't consider the consequences of the war:
[Putin] lost everything. And everybody must see that he is not smart. He's not a strategist, he is just a very lucky guy whose counterparts were even more short-sighted than he was, but he's still very short-sighted.
He doesn't think about tomorrow. He thinks only about a few more hours to be in power for himself, and he doesn't care about future. So he has no plan.
Vladimir Putin is the 'main threat to international peace'
Bondarev also stated that in order for Russia to rebuild its reputation globally and relations with the international community, 'Putin and his regime must go'. He said:
Because as long as Putin stays in power and his regime stays remains Russia, there will be no recovery. There will be only longing lasting resentment.
Putin will still be the main threat to international peace. Without Putin, no Russian would ever think of fighting Ukrainians. There are always lunatics in any country, but they play no role. And it was Putin who decided and who commanded to start this war. If Putin didn't do that, nothing would have happened.
Newsweek: 'Putin 'Bluffing' About Nuclear Threats—Ex-Russian Diplomat'
Newsweek: 'Putin Is 'Not Smart' and 'Lost Everything,' Ex-Russian Diplomat Says'