World

NEW YORK – Vitaly Churkin, the Russian envoy to United Nations, died suddenly while at work in New York yesterday, Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The cause of the veteran diplomat’s death is unclear, the BBC reported.

Churkin had served as ambassador to the UN since 2006, developing a reputation as a steadfast defender of Russian policy.

Russia’s foreign ministry paid tribute to an “outstanding diplomat”, while Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN secretary-general’s office, said he was “quite stunned”.

Vitaly Churkin, 65, had previously served as an envoy to Canada, Belgium and as a special representative to the talks on former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.