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Russian Supreme Court OKs U.S. Adoptions Before January 1

Children look out a window at an orphanage in the southern city of Rostov-na-Donu.
Children look out a window at an orphanage in the southern city of Rostov-na-Donu.
Russia's Supreme Court says all Russian children whose adoptions by U.S. families were approved by Russian courts before January 1, 2013, are eligible to go to their new families.

The clarification was posted on the website of the Supreme Court on January 22.

On January 1, a controversial bill banning adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens came into force.

It strained U.S.-Russia relations and has been condemned by rights activists, who say it victimizes Russian orphans.

It was introduced in reaction to a U.S. law that imposed sanctions on Russian officials linked to the death of whistle-blowing Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other alleged human rights abuses.

Magnitsky's colleagues say the lawyer died from beatings and neglect in prison after uncovering a massive fraud scheme by Russian officials.

With reporting by Interfax

WATCH: Denis, a 3-year-old Russian boy, joins his new adoptive parents from the United States, one of the last Russian orphans to go to an American family after the new law was passed.
Russian Orphan Joins U.S. Family Amid Adoption Ban
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