Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Dies

Vitaly I. Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, passed away just before his 65th birthday. He is renowned for representing his country amidst domestic tumult and escalating tensions with the West. He was born in Moscow on February 21, 1952. He has a Ph.D. in history and is an alumnus of Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He started out his career in the Soviet era and quickly rose up in the ranks in the diplomatic corps. He also represented Russia in peace talks in the former Yugoslavia. He eventually became ambassador to Belgium and Canada before taking the United Nations post in 2006.

The Russian government claimed that his demise was brought about suddenly, but did not supply the public with a cause. The New York City police (NYPD) mentioned indications of foul play.

His death takes place during a crucial period in Russian-American relations. The allegations regarding Russian interference with the United States’ presidential election is still a prominent point of controversy. Relations between the two countries have weakened over the years, and diplomats are waiting to see if the dynamics will change under the Trump regime.

Prior to his death, Churkin was unusually absent during several Security Council meetings. He continuously brushed off reporters’ questions about his health. The deputy Russian ambassador, Petr Iliichev, mentioned that Churkin had been in the office “until the final moments.”  Fire Department officials mentioned there was a cardiac arrest reported at the Russian mission on East 67th Street in Manhattan. Police officers were required to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation. An autopsy was to be conducted later in the week.

Churkin was a former child actor who starred in three films, two of which were biopics about Lenin. He was also trained to work as a translator in addition to an ambassador. He often had issues with United Nations interpreters who could not keep up with his speaking style.

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