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Funeral Held For Russia's UN Envoy, Vitaly Churkin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a memorial service before the funeral of Russia's longtime envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, in Moscow on February 24.

Funeral services for Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, are being held in Moscow.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told mourners on February 24 that Churkin was "an exceptional diplomat and a people’s diplomat."

"Vitaly was the highest professional and a national diplomat," Lavrov said.

Lavrov then handed the Order of Courage that President Vladimir Putin awarded posthumously to Churkin over to the ambassador’s family.

Churkin died in New York on February 20, one day before his 65th birthday.

Churkin will be interred at Moscow’s Troyekurovskoye Cemetery.

Also on February 24, Russia’s mission to the United Nations announced that Churkin’s deputy, Pyotr Ilyichev, had been named acting ambassador.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti, TASS, and AP