Russia’s ambassador to United Nations passed away on Monday.
Tons of tributes poured in on Monday for VitalyChurkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who suddenly died in New York. Russia’s foreign ministry said that Churkin was known for his wit, intellect and the pride he took in serving his country.
Churkin would have celebrated his 65th birthday on Tuesday. Even though the actual cause of the diplomat’s death in unclear, it is said that he suffered from cardiac arrest when at Russian Mission on East 67th Street, according to a law enforcement officer. He was immediately taken to New York’s Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Since 2006, Mr Churkin had served as ambassador to the United Nations, creating a reputation as an unwavering defender of Russian policy.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was “grieved” to hear the death news of the many whose diplomatic talents he personally ‘highly esteemed’. Among the tributes, foreign ministry too paid tribute to this exclusive diplomat.
He was praised for putting his opponents into shock and leaving them speechless. Majority of the opponents from across the world were also paying their respects to a colleague who they have not always agreed with, however respected greatly.
Matthew Rycroft, British ambassador tweeted that he was “absolutely devastated” to get the news of the death of “a diplomatic giant and wonderful character”. The former French ambassador to the UN, Gerard Araud recalled Mr Churkin as “abrasive, funny and technically impeccable”.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador stated he was a “gracious colleague”, further adding: "We did not always see things the same way, but he unquestionably advocated his country's positions with great skill."
Her forerunner, Samantha Power, tweeted that she was “devastated” to hear the news and said "diplomatic maestro and deeply caring man who did all he could to bridge US-RUS differences".
Ms Power’s tribute to Churkin came in spite of the clash they had last year, when the US ambassador accused Syria, Iran and Russia of holding responsibilities for atrocities in the war-torn country. This was an accusation Mr Churkin did not take lying down.
For which he replied, "The weirdest speech to me was the one by the US representative who built her statement as if she is Mother Teresa herself."
He further said, "Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country."
Churkin was born in Moscow, took up acting as young teenager and appeared in two movie about Vladimir Lenin, prior to getting into the prestigious Moscow Institute of International Relations, finallystarting a career in Russia's foreign ministry.
He served as an envoy to Canada, Belgium and as an exclusive representative to the talks on former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, before taking up the position with the United Nations.