Russia’s combative ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly in New York

Russia’s combative ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly in New York on Monday after being taken ill at work, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

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The ministry gave no details on the circumstances of his death but offered condolences to his relatives and said the diplomat had died one day before his 65th birthday.

It declined to comment on reports that Churkin had been taken to hospital shortly before his death.

President Vladimir Putin was “deeply upset” by the news and had greatly valued Churkin’s professionalism and diplomatic talent, Russian news agencies quoted the Kremlin as saying.