I want to express the deepest condolences of the United States for the passing of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin. I did not have the honor of working with Vitaly for very long, but Vitaly's diplomacy will be long remembered. He was a fierce advocate for his country. He was a consummate diplomat. He was brilliant, wise, gracious, and funny. He could spot even the narrowest opportunities to find a compromise. Having spent the early part of his career in the United States, Vitaly also recognized the value of closer ties between our two countries.
So Vitaly's passing is a shock to all of us and a great loss. Let me again, on behalf of the United States, offer our thoughts and prayers to Vitaly’s family, to our colleagues at the Russian Mission, and to the people of Russia. God bless.