Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinsky, was found dead at his Khartoum residence on Wednesday, the Sudanese foreign ministry said.
“The Russian ambassador died this evening at his Khartoum residence,” the ministry said, without giving a cause of death.
An initial investigation had ruled out “foul play” as the cause of the ambassador’s death, which was confirmed by Moscow, AFP reported.
The ambassador, who was born in 1954, “died while he was swimming in his pool at his house”, the officer said.
A diplomatic source also confimed that the Russian envoy in his 60s was found dead in the swimming pool of his residence in north Khartoum.
“We grieve to announce that on August 23 in Khartoum the Russian ambassador to Sudan, M. Shirinsky, died,” Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency reported, citing the foreign ministry in Moscow.
“As soon as we receive detailed information from the Russian embassy staff in Khartoum, we will give information on the circumstances of the death of our colleague,” it said.
The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in their statement that Mr Shirinsky has “taken true steps to better the relationship between Khartoum and Moscow”.
Police spokesman Omar al-Mokhtar said Sudanese officials had now taken Shirinsky’s body to a morgue in the capital. “We are now waiting for instructions from the Russian foreign ministry.”
A fluent Arabic and English speaker, Shirinsky had been a diplomat since 1977, the embassy said on its website.
He studied at Moscow Institute of International Relations and had been appointed as ambassador to Khartoum in 2013, having previously served as ambassador to Rwanda.
Shirinsky’s long diplomatic career also included postings in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
This is the ninth death of a Russian diplomat within a year.
In July Denis Voronenkov, 45, was gunned down outside a hotel in Kiev. Voronenkov and his wife both spoke out against Putin after they left Russia for Ukraine in October.
Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin, at the United Nations September 25, 2016 in New York.
Alexander Kadakin, 67, the Russian ambassador to India, died after a short illness on January 26.
Andrey Malanin, a senior diplomat at the Russian embassy in Greece, was found dead in early January.
A Former intelligence official, Oleg Erovinkin, was found dead sitting in his car on December 26 in Moscow.
In the highest profile killing, Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, 62, was assassinated in Ankara on December 20. He was shot at point-blank range by a gunman while speaking at an art exhibition.
On the same day as Karlov’s killing, Petr Polshikov, 56, a senior Russian diplomat, was shot to death in his Moscow home, according to Moscow newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets.
On November 8, Sergei Krivov, 63, a Russian diplomat at the Russian Consulate in New York was found dead. Krivov served as duty commander involved with security affairs, according to Russian news reports.