Condolences on Vitaly Churkin’s passing 2017-02-20 21:30:00 Vladimir Putin expressed condolences to the family and friends and to the entire Foreign Ministry staff following the death of Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations. The President of Russia described Vitaly Churkin’s untimely departure as a grievous and truly irreplaceable loss for Russian foreign policy. The message also said: “Vitaly Churkin was, without exaggeration, one of our most prominent diplomats. A professional of the highest level, a man of profound intellect and extraordinary energy, charisma and a rare sense of humor, he enjoyed the sincere respect of his colleagues and a great reputation among foreign partners. His achievements cannot be overestimated. He was entrusted with important posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs administration and at foreign missions. Yet, his skills were manifested most clearly in his work as Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN. For more than ten years, he firmly and consistently defended Russia's position on major international issues, sometimes in extremely stressful circumstances, which required tremendous effort and dedication. But no matter how difficult, he solved all tasks admirably and never knew defeat.” Vitaly Churkin died in New York today at the age of 64. He headed Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations since 2006.