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MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has offered his condolences over the passing of Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin and stressed that his death is a big loss for Russia.
"Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin is no longer with us. It is a big loss not only for his families and all those who happened to work with him or know this extraordinary man. It is a big loss for Russia," the prime minister wrote on Facebook. "My sincerest condolences to the family and colleagues of Vitaly Ivanovich."
Ambassador Churkin was "an outstanding diplomat who defended interests of our country in the most complicated situations," Medvedev stressed.
"Being Russia’s Representative to the United Nations was not just a job for him. It was serving our country," he said.
Vitaly Churkin, an outstanding diplomat and uncompromising defender of Russia’s interests, has passed away. My deepest condolences.— Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) 20 February 2017
Vitaly Churkin died in New York on Monday, a day before his 65th birthday. The Russian Foreign Ministry said he had died while performing his duties. "We offer sincere condolences to the family of Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin," the ministry said.