MOSCOW – Russia is holding a funeral for its long-time ambassador to the United Nations who died suddenly earlier this week.
Mourners including the Russian foreign minister on Friday brought flowers to Vitaly Churkin's casket in an elaborate state funeral on Moscow's outskirts.
Churkin, who died Monday at a New York hospital at age 64, had been Russia's envoy at the U.N. since 2006. He was the longest-serving ambassador on the Security Council, the U.N.'s most powerful body. Medical examiners who performed an autopsy on Churkin said that more tests were needed to determine how and why he died.
Speaking at the farewell ceremony, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called Churkin an "exceptional professional and people's diplomat." The U.N. envoy is expected to be laid to rest later on Friday.