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UNITED NATIONS, February 21. /TASS/. The UN Security Council paid tribute on Tuesday to Russia’s Permanent Representative at the UN Vitaly Churkin who died at 64 on Monday.
A minute of silence was announced by Ukraine’s Permanent Representative Vladimir Yelchenko who chaired the UN Security Council’s session devoted to conflicts in Europe.
"As chairman of the Security Council, I propose holding a minute of silence due to the death of Russia’s Permanent Representative Vitaly Churkin," he said.
Russia is represented by First Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Pyotr Ilyichyov. The session is also being attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Secretary-General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Lamberto Zannier.
Diplomats from the member states of the UN Security Council delivered brief speeches, noting Churkin’s merits and calling him an outstanding diplomat and "a maestro of diplomacy." They also conveyed condolences to Churkin’s family and to Russia.
Acting on behalf of Russia, Ilyichyov expressed gratitude to the participants in the session for their condolences "over the grievous loss suffered by Russia."
"A bright diplomat, a high professional, a splendid orator, a polemist and a hearty person has left us. Possessing encyclopedic knowledge, he frequently used it in practice, going into all the nuances of issues that were discussed," the Russian diplomat said.
According to Ilyichyov, Churkin "always looked for the possibility of uniting efforts based on the balance of interests while attentively hearing a viewpoint of his partners at the negotiations."
"For this, he was respected by those with whom Ambassador Churkin had to work, even by those who did not agree with his approaches," Ilyichyov said.
The Russian permanent mission at the UN is receiving "many hundreds of letters and phone calls of condolences," he noted.
"Vitaly Ivanovich [Churkin] will always remain in our memory as a principled diplomat truthful to the mission he was entrusted with, a diplomat sensitive to the problems of other heads, and as an exacting and fair teacher," he noted.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Churkin a uniquely skilled diplomat who had served his country at one of the most difficult periods of modern history.
Russia’s permanent mission at the UN will open on Tuesday a book of condolences in memory of Vitaly Churkin.