Russian ambassador to Sudan found dead in swimming pool

By Ray Downs  |  Aug. 23, 2017 at 10:19 PM
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Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Russia's ambassador to Sudan was found dead Wednesday at his residence in the African nation's capital of Khartoum, Kremlin officials said.

Sudanese police found diplomat Mirgayas Shirinsky's body in his swimming pool.

"As soon as we get detailed information from our embassy's staff in Khartoum, we'll release a report on the circumstances of death of our colleague," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The cause of death has not yet been announced but Sergei Konyashin, press secretary of the Russian embassy in Sudan, said Shirinsky had a heart attack.

"We called an ambulance but the medics didn't manage to save the ambassador's life," Konyashin said.

Shirinsky, 63, began his diplomatic career in 1977. A fluent Arabic speaker, he previously served in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Rwanda. He had been Moscow's ambassador to Sudan since 2013.

In February, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly I. Churkin, died in New York City. The cause of his death also has not been disclosed.

"In order to comply with international protocol, the New York City Law Department has instructed the Office of Chief Medical Examiner to not publicly disclose the cause and manner" of Churkin's death, the New York City Medical Examiner said in a statement, adding that the U.S. State Department requested that Churkin's diplomatic immunity be adhered to even after his death.

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