Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent and personable voice for his country’s interests as he sparred with his Western counterparts, died suddenly after falling ill Monday in his office at the mission. Vitaly Churkin, 64, was taken to a hospital in New York, where he died, Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, told The Associated Press. His cause of death wasn’t immediately known.
He had been Russia’s envoy at the United Nations since 2006 and was considered Moscow’s great champion at the U.N. Diplomatic colleagues from around the world mourned Churkin as a powerful and passionate voice for his nation, with both a deep knowledge of diplomacy and a large and colorful personality. He was the longest-serving member of the Security Council, the U.N.’s most powerful body. READ MORE