Bondarenko had a great battle with Olympic bronze medallist Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Canada Derek Drouin, who both cleared 2.38 metres.
Bondarenko had 2.35 under his belt but then bravely passed on 2.38, only to miss his first attempt at 2.41, a height he has not managed all year.
At the second attempt, however, he made it, for gold, though his latest attempt on Javier Sotomayor's 20-year-old world record of 2.45 fell short.
His first attempt was decent as he clipped the bar on his way over, but the second was far closer as the crowd remained quiet on the Ukrainian’s insistence.
A sense of destiny pervaded the air of the Luzhniki Stadium as he sat down ahead of his third jump, but once he had climbed to his feet and taken his run-up, he knocked the bar off with his arm on the way up.
That did not prevent him from celebrating with his coach in front of thousands of his blue-and-yellow-clad compatriots.
Grabarz cleared 2.29, the height which saw him win bronze at the 2012 Olympics, at the second attempt but failed with his three attempts at 2.32.
Caterin Ibarguen took Colombia's first-ever world gold in the women's triple jump.