Ilyichev will head Russia's diplomatic mission until the appointment of the new Permanent Representative

© AP Photo/Richard Drew
Pyotr Ilyichev
Russia's First Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Pyotr Ilyichev has been appointed as acting Permanent Representative to the organization after Vitaly Churkin's unexpected death, according to a representative of Russian Foreign Ministry's press service.

"Pyotr Ilyichev has become acting Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations," he said. Ilyichev will head Russia's diplomatic mission until the appointment of the new Permanent Representative

Vitaly Churkin died on February 20, a day before his 65th birthday. He had been Russia's UN ambassador since April 8, 2006, representing the country in the United Nations Security Council. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the ambassador died while on duty.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council observed a minute of silence for Churkin, and the General Assembly will hold a special meeting in the coming days to pay tribute to him.

The final farewell ceremony for Churkin will take place in Moscow on February 24.