MOSCOW, February 22. /TASS/. The funeral ceremony for Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, will take place in Moscow on February 24, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
"On February 22, Vitaly Churkin’s coffin will be sent to Russia, it is expected to arrive in Moscow on a regular Russian airline flight, accompanied by his family members, on February 23," she said.
"The funeral ceremony is scheduled for February 24, so people will be given an opportunity to pay their respects to Vitaly Churkin," Zakharova said adding that the Foreign Ministry would announce the exact time and place later.
The spokeswoman also said that a book of condolences had been opened at the Russian UN embassy. CIS member states’ ambassadors to the US and representatives of the UN secretariat were the first to sign the book. "Today, Russian embassy personnel are bidding their final farewells to Vitaly Churkin," Zakharova said.
Vitaly Churkin died on February 20, a day before his 65th birthday. He had been Russia’s UN ambassador since April 8, 2006, representing the country in the United Nations Security Council. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the ambassador died while on duty.