Writing for the New York Times on Saturday, Samantha Power gave more behind-the-scenes details of her time as Churkin’s "most visible foe" and opponent on almost every important international issue, stressing they had much more in common as individuals.
"Vitaly was a masterful storyteller with an epic sense of humor, a good friend and one of the best hopes the United States and Russia had of working together," the diplomat wrote. She also called him "one of the world’s most effective diplomats."
"We were able to disagree vehemently on fundamentals, but find a way to listen and discern what the other needed," Power wrote, listing tough sanctions on North Korea, response to the Ebola virus outbreak and picking a new UN chief as some of successes.
On the personal level, Power said they shared love for sports and would sometimes go to basketball matches together. They used to always pick up each other’s calls, she said, and mulled the possibility of teaching a graduate school class together when they retired.