Russia’s ambassador to the UN dies suddenly

World Today

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has died at the age of 64. Churkin had served as Russia’s representative at the world body since 2006.

CGTN’s Steve Mort reports.

Russia’s ambassador to the UN dies suddenly

Russia’s ambassador to the UN dies suddenly

Russia's ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has died at the age of 64. Churkin had served as Russia's representative at the world body since 2006. He would have turned 65 on Tuesday. CGTN's Steve Mort brought us this report from Moscow.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow immediately released a statement saying “We’d like to express our sincere condolences to Vitaly Churkin’s family.”

Russia’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations said Churkin kept working “till the very end.”

It’s understood he was at the Russian embassy in New York when he suffered what has been described as a “cardiac condition”.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said he died a short while later at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.

Just this month Churkin had vigorously defended Russian interests at the U.N. Security Council, sparring with the new U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley.

Haley had blamed Moscow for the recent surge of violence in eastern Ukraine, and called on Russia to surrender Crimea.

But Churkin quoted the words “We The People” from the U.S. constitution, claiming “the people of Crimea quite clearly expressed their will in a referendum.”

Churkin has held several ambassador roles and was director of the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Information Department.

He was also the first Soviet diplomat to testify before the U.S. Congress in 1986 when he briefed lawmakers in Washington on the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.