UN honours 'outstanding diplomat,' Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who passed away at 64

Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, briefing journalists late last year at Headquarters. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

20 February 2017 – The United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly today, along with Secretary-General António Guterres, mourned the passing of the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to United Nations, Vitaly Churkin who died this morning in New York.

Just back from an official visit to Germany, the Secretary-General said that he had learned with shock and sadness of the news of Ambassador Churkin's sudden passing.

Mr. Churkin spent more than 40 years at the Russian Diplomatic Service, headed the Russian Mission to the UN for more than a decade and would have turned 65 tomorrow, 21 February.

Describing the late official as “an outstanding diplomat” the Secretary-General said Ambassador Churkin was a forceful presence on the Security Council “a powerful orator with great wit, and a man of many talents and interests.”

“Although we served together for a short time, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with him and will deeply miss his insights, skills and friendship,” continued Mr. Guterres, paying tribute to Mr. Churkin's contributions to the UN and offering deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and to the Government and people of the Russian Federation.

In a separate press statement, members of the Security Council said that they were “deeply saddened” to learn of Mr. Churkin's death and also expressed their deep condolences to his family, the Government and the Russian people.

Also today, the General Assembly held a moment of silence honouring the Ambassador's memory.

During a meeting of the Assembly on the reform of the world body, Russia's Deputy Permanent Representative, Petr Iliichev, informed those present about Mr. Churkin's sudden passing.

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