20 Feb 2018 11:02

Vitaly Churkin earned colleagues' respect with professionalism, ability to defend Russian interests - deputy envoy Kuzmin

NEW YORK. Feb 20 (Interfax) - Late Russian diplomat Vitaly Churkin earned colleagues' respect with his professionalism, insistence combined with elegant tact, and ability to defend Russia's interests, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gennady Kuzmin told Interfax.

Churkin suddenly died in New York on February 20, 2017, one day before his 65th birthday. His entire life was dedicated to the diplomatic career. Churkin was the Russian Ambassador to the United Nations and Representative to the UN Security Council since 2006.

"He was a top-notch professional, a charmer, a witty person with a spacious mind and a good memory for numbers, dates, and events. He was a unique person. No doubt, it is a great professional luck that I worked together with him and learned a lot," Kuzmin said.

Kuzmin said he arrived in New York in 2006 practically simultaneously with Churkin. "We were working together for four and a half years, until 2010," he said.

"Of course, I was deeply aggrieved by the death of Vitaly Ivanovich [Churkin]. His death was totally unexpected by me. Since the moment I left in 2010, I remembered him as an energetic and active person ready to work from dusk to dawn and defend the interests of our country," Kuzmin said.

Churkin was "a diplomat of the highest level," Kuzmin said. "This is said by everyone in the Russian Mission to the UN, his colleagues, ambassadors, and permanent representatives of foreign countries, although we often had complicated confrontational contacts with many partners of ours. Vitaly Ivanovich [Churkin] was always respected for his professionalism, insistence combined with elegant tact, and ability to stand up for our interests," Kuzmin said.