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Serbia’s President hands award to widow of Russian ambassador to UN

Aleksandar Vucic said that Vitaly Churkin was one of the few people who rebuffed the anti-Serb propaganda

BELGRADE, December 19. /TASS/. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic on Monday handed the Order of the Serbian Flag [Class I] to the widow of the former Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, the national television said.

"Churkin will always remain in the memory of Russian and world diplomacy," Vucic said as he handed the award to Irina Churkina. "He was one of the few people who rebuffed the anti-Serb propaganda and people of Serbia will never forget what he did in July 2015."

"This day is important for Serbia because we’re expressing our thanks to a friend whom we owed much during his lifetime," he said. "Once again, very many thanks!"

Vitaly Churkin’s children attended it, too.

Irina Churkina said on her part that "[…] Vitaly Churkin was always a diplomat of the people and he sympathized very much with the people of Serbia." She thanked President Vucic for the award, adding that the Churkin family would hand it down from one generation to another.

Serbia’s previous President, Tomislav Nikolic awarded the Order of the Serbian Flag to Vitaly Churkin posthumously on February 21, 2017. Milorad Dodik, the President of the Serb Republic in Bosnia and Herzegovina followed suit - on November 6, Bosnian Serbs unveiled a monument to Churkin in Eastern Sarajevo.

Churkin held the position of Russian Ambassador to the UN from April 8, 2006, and through to his premature death on February 20, 2017. Russian President awarded the Order of Courage to him, also posthumously.