23:18 GMT +319 May 2019
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    Flowers and portrait in the building of the Russian Foreign Ministry, a tribute to Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Calls Late UN Envoy 'Extraordinary Person'

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    Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin, who died earlier in the week, was as an "extraordinary person," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday at a farewell ceremony for the late diplomat in Moscow.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's UN ambassador passed away in New York on Monday, a day before his 65th birthday.

    Churkin served as Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations and the Russian representative in the UN Security Council from April 2006 until his death.

    "He was a star. And the way people reacted [to his death] not only in our country, but across the world has proved it. Even the people who, and I am not exaggerating, were his harshest opponents, were crying loudly, because he was a star, a professional and a extraordinary person," Zakharova said, adding that Churkin was a mentor for her.

    When Churkin died, Zakharova said that he was "a great diplomat. An extraordinary personality. A brilliant man. We've lost a person very dear to us."

    Earlier in the day, a memorial service for Churkin was held in Moscow.

    Prior to this appointment as the ambassador to the UN, Churkin was Ambassador at Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (2003-2006), Ambassador to Canada (1998-2003), Ambassador to Belgium and Liaison Ambassador to NATO and WEU (1994-1998), Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the talks on Former Yugoslavia (1992-1994), Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR/Russian Federation (1990-1992).

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    Maria Zakharova, Vitaly Churkin, Russia
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