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MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. The late Russian Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, has been awarded the Order of Uatsamonga, South Ossetia’s highest state decoration, posthumously. The order was handed over on Tuesday to Churkin’s widow, Irina, at South Ossetia’s embassy in Moscow by Ambassador Znaur Gassiyev. The ceremony was attended by his children.
The ambassador read out the South Ossetian president’s decree on awarding the Order of Uatsamonga in recognition of the Russian diplomat’s merits and his personal contribution to strengthening South Ossetia’s independence.
"The name of this outstanding man is what makes us who we are," Gassiyev said. "When back in 2008, Tskhinval was burned down to the ground we had only one staunch friend abroad - Vitaly Ivanovich [Churkin] who spared no effort to resolutely and uncompromisingly defend our interests."
"I would like to say thanks to you all who were by his side back then when Vitaly Ivanovich managed to break the information blockade and demonstrate to the entire world the real face of the aggressor," the South Ossetian diplomat said. "Back then, Vitaly Ivanovich was speaking on behalf of Russia, a strong, confident and fair country ready to extend a helping hand to us suffering from injustice."
The ambassador also said that the South Ossetian president had asked him to say that one of Tskhinval’s streets will be renamed after Vitaly Churkin.
Vitaly Churkin, who had held the position of Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations since April 8, 2006, died on February 20, just a day ahead of his 65th birthday. The Russian foreign ministry said he had died while on duty. Churkin was buried in Moscow on February 24. President Vladimir Putin awarded the Order of Courage to him posthumously.