The Russian diplomat who loved rugby

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Russia’s long-serving Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin has died aged 64. Churkin was the recipient of some creative New Zealand diplomacy IN 2013 when we were campaigning to get a seat on the Security Council. He was a rugby lover our UN Embassy arranged for him to travel to and from a Maori All Blacks game in Philadelphia in the US on the team bus. After the game, he apparently enthusiastically joined in the post-game sing-along with the players and loved every minute of it. That didn’t stop NZ’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Gerard van Bohemen from launching an emotional attack at the Security Council on Russia over its role in Syria at the end of last year.  Because of the Council’s practice of seating its members alphabetically (in English) New Zealand sat next to Russia and Churkin sat impassively as van Bohemen delivered his attack.  Perhaps he expected a haka. 

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