Vitaly Churkin, who served as Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations “died suddenly” in New York on Monday morning the Russian Foreign Ministry has announced.
The untimely passing away of Ambassador Churkin, who would have turned 65 on Tuesday, was met with shock when the news was delivered during a session at the UN headquarters
— MFA Russia 🇷🇺 (@mfa_russia) February 20, 2017
Churkin was the fourth Russian diplomat do die suspiciously over the last three months, and the fifth in the last two years…should then alarm bells be ringing?
Churkin fell ill in his office at Russia’s UN mission and was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he died Monday, AP reported, citing Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov. The cause of death wasn’t immediately known, the agency reported.
“He has been such a regular presence here that I am actually quite stunned. Our thoughts go to his family, to his friends and to his government,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general’s office said, as quoted by Reuters.
“He was a strong-willed, resolute, and dutiful person, who was admired by his colleagues and envied by his enemies,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told RT.
Russia’s UN Ambassador spared no effort and devoted his life and strength “to the fight for a brighter future for this world,” Ryabkov said, adding that Churkin’s death is “a great loss not only for diplomacy, but for the country in general.”
The profession of a diplomat “has become much more hectic than it used to be in the past,” Churkin said earlier this month in an interview with RT, which was one of his last. “It is stressful,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the world has not become more stable than it used to be,” Churkin told RT’s Aleksey Yaroshevsky.
Before he was appointed to represent Russia at the UN in May 2006, the diplomat served as ambassador to Belgium, ambassador to Canada, and liaison ambassador to NATO and the Western European Union (WEU).
In the 2000s he was ambassador at large at Russia’s Foreign Ministry, while in the early 1990s he served as the special representative of the Russian president to the talks on the former Yugoslavia.