New York, Feb 21: Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin died all of a sudden on February 20 while working in his office in the city, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The ministry gave no details on the circumstances leading to his death but offered condolences to his relatives and said the diplomat had died a day before his 65th birthday. According to the Russian diplomat Sergei Ordzhonikidze, the immediate cause of his death was heart failure.
The Russian Permanent Mission in a statement said that Churkin was in his office fulfilling his duties when the tragedy occurred in the afternoon of February 20. “For the Mission’s staff and for all who had a chance to work under the able leadership of this outstanding, energetic and respectable diplomat, it was a terrible shock.”
“It is impossible to realise that Ambassador is no longer with us. We mourn together with his family and his beloved ones,” the statement added.
The Russian mission said Churkin dedicated most of his life to diplomatic service standing for his country’s interests more than 40 years in total, of which 20 years he worked as Ambassador to Belgium, Canada. He had been the Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN since 2006.
UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson said in a statement he was “greatly saddened” by the news of the passing of “dear friend” Churkin. “The Russian Federation and the United Nations have lost a true son and a great international intellect,” he said.
Churkin was also a child actor and performed in three movies, namely, Sinyaya Tetrad and A mother’s heart that were about Vladimir Lenin, among others.