15:18 GMT25 January 2020
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    Members of the UN General Assembly held a meeting in memory of the late Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin on Tuesday.

    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — Vitaly Churkin served as Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations since 2006. He passed away on February 20 in New York City on the eve of his 65th birthday.

    The UN General Assembly began on Tuesday with a minute of silence in memory of the Russian envoy.

    "Truly and simultaneously, a patriot and an internationalist, Ambassador Churkin was truly one-of-a-kind – an outstanding diplomat, a man of many talents and interests, and a human being whose friendship touched many of us here in this hall today," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated.

    Guterres remarked on Churkin's ability to defend Russia's interests while simultaneously advocating for a stronger United Nations.

    "May you rest in peace. May the earth be a soft bed for you," Guterres finished in Russian.

    "Vitaly Churkin was truly one of a kind. He was an ever eloquent voice at the United Nations, and we will remember him for his brilliance, his wisdom and his sharp sense of humor," distinguished US representative Michele Sison said in a statement.

    Sison noted that while she did not always see things the same way with Churkin, the Russian ambassador had an eye for identifying compromise.

    "The UN community has experienced the shock and a loss and we miss Churkin's presence here," Sison added.

    UK Ambassador to the United Nations Matthew Rycroft remarked that Churkin exhibited the highest level of diplomatic professionalism and deep knowledge of the workings of the UN Security Council.

    "He was a true professional who treated his colleagues with respect and enjoyed utmost respect of everyone in return," Rycroft concluded.

    Related:

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    Memorial to Russia's UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin Proposed in Republika Srpska
    US Ex-Envoy to UN Looks Back on Uneasy Friendship With Russia’s Churkin
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    memory, United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, United States
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