The State Department asked the New York Medical Examiner not to publicly release information about the cause of death of Russia's ambassador to the United Nations.
Vitaly Churkin died unexpectedly in New York last month, one day before his 65th birthday.
"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," Office of Chief Medical Examiner spokesman Julie Bolcer said, according to New York Times reporter Michael Grynbaum.
"As outlined in formal requests from the United States Department of State, Ambassador Churkin's diplomatic immunity survives his death. Further questions concerning this matter should be directed to the United States Department of State."
Okay, that's weird right?
I mean since when does diplomatic immunity pertain to a cause of death?
And what makes it even weirder still is that Churkin is just one of eight Russian operatives to suddenly drop dead in the last year.
Axios listed all but the most recent one and pointed out some suspicious circumstances:
- 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.
- On the morning of U.S. Election Day, Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found unconscious at the Russian Consulate in New York and died on the scene. Initial reports said Krivov fell from the roof and had blunt force injuries, but Russian officials said he died from a heart attack. BuzzFeed reports Krivov may have been a Consular Duty Commander, which would have put him in charge of preventing sabotage or espionage.
- 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.
Look I don't want to lead anybody down any conspiratorial rabbit holes, but one of the casualties of this election has been my ability to see things as only coincidental.
MAYBE, everything is just a big ole coincidence, but no part of me believes that is true.