Russia to allow 'some orphans' to be adopted in US

AFP , Friday 11 Jan 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman says court approved the adoption of Russian children by US families; further details were declined

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a news conference in Moscow, 20 December 2012 (Photo: AP)

Russian children whose adoptions have already been approved by courts will go to the United States despite a blanket ban on all American adoptions, a Kremlin spokesman said on Friday.

"Those who have received a court decision will go," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP.

"Those who do not have a decision will not go."

He declined further details, but Russian officials say 52 children were in the process of being adopted by US parents when the controversial ban on US adoptions came into force January 1.

Russia adopted the law in reprisal for new US legislation that targets Russian officials who have allegedly committed rights abuses.

Kremlin children's rights envoy Pavel Astakhov said, citing a preliminary figure, that 52 children were at various stages of being adopted by Americans and that he had requested firm data from the education ministry.

"Currently no-one can tell for sure -- these are children from Kamchatka to Kaliningrad," he told AFP, referring to Russia's western and eastern borders.

"This is all very individual. Every child is in a different situation, at a different stage.

Ekho of Moscow radio, citing the education and science ministry, said later Friday that as of late December the ministry's lists contained 52 children in the process of being adopted by US parents and who have already received a court decision.

Those decisions have not entered force yet, the radio station added.

No more details were available Friday evening and a spokesman for the education and science ministry declined immediate comment when contacted by AFP.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov said Thursday that a November 1 international agreement between the United States and Russia aiming to give better protection to adopted children would remain in force until January next year.

Peskov told AFP on Friday that despite the agreement remaining in force for another year, the new law means that Americans are already banned from launching any new adoption procedures.

Russia's opposition protest movement plans to hold a march in central Moscow on Sunday calling for a lifting of the adoptions ban.

More than 100,000 signatures have already been collected against the measure which critics quickly named the "law of scoundrels."

The Novaya Gazeta opposition newspaper is now also collecting signatures on a petition calling for the dissolution of the Russian lower house of parliament, the State Duma.

The ban on US adoptions caused an outcry among rights activists who say Russian families are reluctant to adopt children with disabilities.

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