What Vitaly Churkin's death means for the United Nations

"We had honest and unconditional support of the Russian Federation and, especially of the passed Ambassador Churkin, who helped us a lot, on the resolution on Srebrenica".

Churkin died on Monday in NY, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. He became ill with heart problems and died suddenly in NY on February 20.

According to a Foreign Affairs Ministry release, President Sirleaf, in her message to Mr. Putin, said, "This is a colossal loss not only to Russian Federation but also to the global community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, where Ambassador Churkin was an outstanding figure and very revered by his colleagues". Following the meeting, Churkin said that Haley appeared to be different from her predecessor sounding friendlier. He was hailed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as "an outstanding diplomat of modern times". From diplomats who argued with him to reporters whom he scolded about their questions, Churkin was without a doubt the most standout United Nations diplomat.

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. On February 21, the UN Security Council held a minute of silence in his honor.

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Mr Churkin's United Nations counterparts "experienced and respected the pride that he took in serving his country and the passion and, at times, very stern resolution that he brought to his job", said General Assembly president Peter Thomson, of Fiji.

"He could spot even the narrowest opportunities to find a compromise", U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Tuesday, calling Churkin "brilliant, wise, gracious, and amusing".

Churkin emerged as the face of a new approach to foreign affairs by the Soviet Union in 1986, when he testified before the US Congress about the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. He also served as Deputy Foreign Minister, and ambassador to Belgium and Canada. Churkin would have turned 65 today.

  • Adam Floyd