Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the fledgling democracy that broke from the U.S.S.R. in 1991, has upended international relations between Russia and the West.
The United States and other allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) announced a host of sanctions designed to freeze the assets of Putin and Russian oligarchs while weakening the country economically. On Monday, the European Union announced sanctions on Russia's central bank. In the aftermath of the invasion, the United Nations Security Council attempted to adopt a resolution condemning Russia's aggression, but Russia's ambassador struck it down with a no vote.
But a Russian representative at a recent United Nations climate conference took a markedly different tone than his counterparts defending the invasion.
Speaking at a closed door meeting, the Russian delegation head—Oleg Anisimov—stunned attendees by apologizing for Putin's war.
"Let me present an apology on behalf of all Russians not able to prevent this conflict. All of those who know what is happening fail to find any justification for this attack against Ukraine.”
Though Putin has presented a host of false narratives to justify the invasion, Anisimov is one of many Russians speaking out against the escalation of tensions with Ukraine. Thousands of Russians even took to the streets in opposition, despite the potential for retribution from the government.
Social media users praised Anisimov's words.
Some hope the Russian opposition to Putin's invasion marks the beginning of the end of his regime.
Anisimov clarified that the statement was his personal opinion and not that of the Russian delegation.