Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinskiy, was found floating dead in the swimming pool at his home in Khartoum, the Sudanese police said. Police spokesperson said the ambassador, who was known to have suffered from high blood pressure, is believed to have died of natural causes. Doctors came immediately, but were not able to save him, according to Russian state media.
Mirgayas Shirinskiy, 63, “was found in his residence with evidence of an acute heart attack,” Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said.
Sudan’s foreign ministry expressed its condolences to Russia in a statement, hailing Shirinskiy’s diplomatic efforts.
While the cause of death is initially being considered natural, since Shirinskiy suffered from high blood pressure, seven Russian ambassadors have died in mysterious ways over the last two years, three since December alone.
Two of them died from heart attacks, and Shirinsky would be the third.
Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov was assassinated in December, during a speech at an art gallery, by a gun-wielding former Turkish cop shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and “Don’t forget Aleppo! Don’t forget Syria!”
Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin died at 68 from an illness in January.
Most notable was former Russian ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, who died of a heart attack in February in New York. The US State Department asked the New York City medical examiner’s office to not release his autopsy.
Roman Skrynikov, the former Russian ambassador to Kazakhstan, also died of an apparent heart attack in December 2016.
Five other prominent Russians, besides the three ambassadors, have also died of apparent heart attacks in the last 14 years.
Photo: Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinskiy
Alexander Perepilichnyy, a former Russian financier who was about to shed light on a $230 million money laundering operation perpretated by the Russian mafia and government officials died mysteriously in 2012. His 2012 death in Great Britain was initially ruled a heart attack by the police, but an investigator later found trace amounts of Himalayan gelsemium elegans plant in his system, which can cause cardiac arrest.
Shirinskiy’s death happened just before Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s planned visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The Hague has had an international warrant out for Bashir’s arrest for years over the genocide in Darfur.