MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to posthumously award the Order of Courage to Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin, who died in New York on Monday morning.
The Kremlin’s press-service has said the award is for his "dedication, staunchness and high professionalism displayed in the capacity of Russia’s permanent representative at the United Nations."
Earlier on Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin offered condolences to the diplomat’s widow Irina Churkina and his children, Anastasiya and Maksim. He described Churkin as one of the most prominent diplomats who brilliantly coped with his tasks and never suffered defeats. He said Churkin’s premature demise was "the gravest, truly irrecoverable loss for Russian foreign policy."
He pointed out that Churkin "without an exaggeration was one of the most outstanding diplomats," a professional of the highest level, a man of profound intellect and remarkable energy, a person of great charm and sense of humor, "who enjoyed his colleagues’ sincere respect and tremendous authority with his foreign partners." Putin said Churkin’s achievements in different high-ranking jobs at the Foreign Ministry’s central staff and abroad were hard to overestimate, "but his capabilities were displayed most brightly when he was Russia’s ambassador at the United Nations."
"For more than ten years, sometimes in the most strenuous conditions he firmly and systematically pressed for Russia’s stance on the most important world issues, which required immense efforts and complete self-sacrifice. However hard the tasks were, he brilliantly coped with them and never suffered defeats," Putin said.
"Churkin was a true patriot and citizen. Bright memories of this man will live on in the hearts of all those who knew him," Putin said.
Vitaly Churkin died on February 20, one day before his 65th birthday. Starting from April 2006 he was Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York and Russia’s representative in the UN Security Council. Churkin died while on duty, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.