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Putin 'Intends' To Sign U.S. Adoptions Ban

  • RFE/RL

President Vladimir Putin says he "intends" to sign a bill banning adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

Putin said in televised comments on December 27 that he still needed to study the final text of the legislation but added: "I still don't see any reasons why I should not sign [the bill]."

The bill was introduced in reaction to a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act that imposes sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.

It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistle-blowing Russian lawyer who was physically abused and died in a Moscow prison in 2009.

The adoptions ban was unanimously approved on December 26 by the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. It had been passed earlier by the lower chamber, the State Duma.

The bill has increased tensions in U.S.-Russian relations, which were already strained by the adoption of the Magnitsky Act.

The U.S. State Department has said it "regrets" the Russian move, saying it is "misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations."

A child has a meal at an orphanage in the southern Russian city of Rostov-na-Donu.

A child has a meal at an orphanage in the southern Russian city of Rostov-na-Donu.

Critics in Russia say it victimizes Russian orphans by depriving them of an opportunity to escape often-dismal Russian orphanages.

Putin on December 27 angrily rejected those arguments, saying, "You know, there are probably many places in the world where living conditions are better than [in Russia]. So what? Should we send all our children there? Should we perhaps move there, too?"

Putin said that, alongside the adoptions ban, he intends to sign a decree increasing support for Russian orphans.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are about 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, while only 18,000 Russians are now waiting to adopt a child.

U.S. citizens account for the bulk of foreign adoptions of Russian children, including many with disabilities.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax