Russian ambassador to Sudan latest in string of Kremlin diplomat deaths
He's the fourth Russian diplomat to die recently while assigned overseas.
August 24, 2017, 7:50 PM
• 3 min read
-- Russia's ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, was found dead at his residence in Khartoum on Wednesday night, officials said.
According to Russia's foreign ministry, Shirinsky appeared to have suffered symptoms consistent with a heart attack when he was discovered. Russian embassy staff at the residence in Sudan's capital city called for medical assistance, but doctors were unable to save the ambassador's life. He died around 6 p.m. local time, the ministry said.
"Mirgayas Shirinsky was a top professional who dedicated his life to diplomatic service," Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday. "We express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the ambassador. May he rest in peace."
Shirinsky, who was believed to be in his early 60s, was appointed ambassador to Sudan in 2013.
In a statement carried by Sudan's state-run SUNA news agency on Thursday, the Sudanese foreign ministry confirmed Shirinsky died in Khartoum on Wednesday and it offered its "warm condolences" to the government and people of Russia.
Sudan's foreign ministry also praised the Russian ambassador's efforts to enhance diplomatic relations between the two countries while in office, but provided no details on the circumstances surrounding Shirinsky's sudden death.
Though there is no apparent evidence to suggest his death is suspicious, Shirinsky is the fourth Russian emissary to die prematurely while overseas on assignment since the start of 2017. Nine have died since late 2016, according to media reports.
Shirinsky's death came as both countries prepare for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir's first visit to Moscow this month. Bashir is wanted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Court. In 2000, Russia signed the Rome statute establishing the world's first permanent war crimes court, but never ratified the treaty. In November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order withdrawing his country's signature from the founding treaty.