US State Department Moves to Keep Russian Ambassador’s Autopsy Concealed
In a surprising development regarding the death of Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, the US State Department has requested that the results from the autopsy not be made public by the New York Medical Examiner.
News of the sudden death of internationally respected Ambassador Churkin, just a day before his 65th birthday, came as a shock to Russian and UN officials alike.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is reported to have made this statement in regards to the autopsy to the New York Times:
“In order to comply with international law and protocol, the New York City Law Department has instructed the Office of Chief Medical Examiner to not publicly disclose the cause and manner of death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.”
CBS reported that:
The U.S. Department of State asked the city in writing on Feb. 24 to not reveal the autopsy results, because Churkin’s diplomatic immunity survives his death.
“The United States insists on the dignified handling of the remains of our diplomatic personnel who pass away abroad (including in Russia) and works to prevent unnecessary disclosures regarding the circumstances of their deaths,” wrote James Donovan, minister counselor for host country affairs for the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
The State Department’s request to conceal the results of the autopsy are adding to the suspicions surrounding the death of the Ambassador. Russian officials have described Churkin as a long serving, respected, and highly skilled diplomat. The Ambassador has been a part of Russia’s permanent envoy to the UN for 10 years and was also the longest serving ambassador to the UN’s most influential body, the Security Council.
On February 20th, Churkin collapsed in his New York office and was transported to hospital where he later died. It was initially reported that he died from a heart attack.
The controversy surrounding the death of the ambassador stems from the fact that a slew of Russian diplomats have met their death in the last 2 months. Some have been assassinated while others have died under mysterious circumstances.
In this post from last month, Censorship by Omission, I outlined how 4 Russian diplomats had died within a span of 60 days. However, Zero Hedge reports that the number is even higher and, all included, 6 Russian diplomats have died in in that time frame.
Here is a summary of the recent deaths:
- You probably remember Russia’s Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov — he was assassinated by a police officer at a photo exhibit in Ankara on December 19.
- On the same day, another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death were under investigation. Polshikov served as a senior figure in the Latin American department of the Foreign Ministry.
- Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York this past week. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office at Russia’s UN mission. Initial reports said he suffered a heart attack, and the medical examiner is investigating the death, according to CBS.
- Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died after a “brief illness January 27, which The Hindu said he had been suffering from for a few weeks.
- Russian Consul in Athens, Greece, Andrei Malanin, was found dead in his apartment January 9. A Greek police official said there was “no evidence of a break-in.” But Malanin lived on a heavily guarded street. The cause of death needed further investigation, per an AFP report. Malanin served during a time of easing relations between Greece and Russia when Greece was increasingly critiqued by the EU and NATO.
- Ex-KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping draft the Trump dossier, was found dead in the back of his car December 26, according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft.
It bears repeating that ambassador Churkin was also a strong proponent of investigating the crimes of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s involvement in organ harvesting from 1998-2000 during the Balkan Wars.
If we include the deaths of 3 more Russian diplomats the total comes to 9 in in 2 years (see link above).
These additional deaths are not insignificant and they include a Russian official who died on US election day 2016, Vladimir Putin’s personal driver in a freak car accident and the death of RT founder and close Putin advisor who also died of an apparent ‘heart attack’.
RT Founder Mikhail Lesin
An ex-aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin did not die of a heart attack in a Washington, D.C., hotel room last year as was previously reported, but from “blunt force injuries of the head” as well as “the neck, torso, upper extremities, and lower extremities,” a spokesperson with the D.C. medical examiner’s office told The Daily Beast.
The medical examiner reported Mikhail Lesin’s “manner of death” is “undetermined.”
Almost a year after Lesin’s death was ruled a heart attack it was revealed that Lesin had suffered some unexplained blunt force injuries covering his body, including the head and neck. When considering the details in Lesin’s death, it is perhaps unsurprising that there’s growing concern with the State Department desire to keep Churkin’s autopsy concealed as both deaths were initially ruled heart attacks.
Car Crash Killing Putin’s Driver
Some have speculated that the accident was a failed assassination attempt on Russian president Putin.