More tests needed on Russian UN ambassador's cause of death

United States media reported that the Russian diplomat had died after suffering a heart attack at Russia's UN mission in Manhattan.

The cause and manner of death of Russia's ambassador to the United Nations needs to be studied further, the city medical examiner said Tuesday, a day after the diplomat fell ill at his office at Russia's U.N. mission and died at a hospital.

"Ambassador Churkin is a respected and outstanding diplomat", Geng said, adding that Churkin's death was not only a loss for Russian Federation, but also the UN. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the ambassador died while on duty.

"I was always struck by the huge respect he showed for the Jewish people and, especially, to the Russian Jewish veterans of the Second World War, who fought against and were victorious over the Nazis", World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said. Everybody knew Ambassador Churkin.

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Diplomatic colleagues from around the world mourned Mr Churkin as a master in their field - a passionate and effective advocate for his country, an intellectual with a doctorate in history who was also a one-time child actor with an acute wit, and a formidable adversary who could remain a friend.

From Moscow's vantage point "Churkin was like a rock against which were broken the attempts by our enemies to undermine what constitutes the glory of Russia", Tass quoted deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying. CIS member states' ambassadors to the USA and representatives of the United Nations secretariat were the first to sign the book.

We feel shocked and saddened over Ambassador Churkin's sudden death and express our deep condolences, said Liu Jieyi, China's ambassador to the UN. The U.N. General Assembly will schedule a special meeting to pay tribute to him. He later held ambassadorships in Canada and Belgium, among other posts.

  • Megan Austin