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Russia's ambassador to Sudan has reportedly died of a heart attack, becoming the eighth Russian diplomat to pass away unexpectedly in the past 10 months. Mirgayas Shirinsky, 62, was found dead on Wednesday at his Khartoum residence. Maria Zakharova, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, told journalists on Thursday that the ambassador had been “found with signs of an acute heart attack”. “Embassy employees called a doctor, but unfortunately he was unable to save (Mr) Shirinsky,” she said. Police told AFP he had “died while he was swimming in his pool at his house” but that an initial investigation had ruled out foul play. Mr Shirinsky is at least the eighth foreign ministry official to die since late last year. Mirgayas Shirinsky died while he was swimming in his pool at his house Credit: EPA The spate of deaths began on the day Donald Trump was elected US president in November, when Sergei Krivov, duty commander of the Russian consulate in New York, was found dead with a head wound at the facility, police said. Initial reports said he had fallen to his death from the roof, but consulate officials said he had a heart attack and hit his head. The New York city medical examiner later contradicted these explanations, saying he died of internal bleeding related to a tumour. Andrei Karlov, ambassador to Turkey, was shot in the back during his speech at an Ankara art gallery in December by a police officer yelling “Don't forget Syria”. Vitaly Churkin, ambassador to the United Nations, died at work in Februarythe day before his 65th birthday, reportedly of a heart attack. More than 10,000 people work at the Russian foreign ministry in Moscow and abroad, and five of the men were in their sixties, old by Russian standards. Alexander Kadakin, ambassador to India, was 67 when he died in a hospital in January, one year over the average life expectancy for Russian males. But the recent deaths, at least three of which occurred in unclear circumstances, have raised eyebrows, especially since high-profile Russians have been killed abroad before. A UK inquiry found in 2016 that spy-turned-MI6-informant Alexander Litvinenko had been poisoned by two Russians acting on the Kremlin's orders. In addition, some US intelligence and law enforcement officials reportedly now believe Mikhail Lesin, former communications minister and aide to Vladimir Putin, was murdered on the eve of an interview with the department of justice in 2015.
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