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Russian Lawmakers Want Adoptee's Return

Max Shatto died in January in unclear circumstances.
Max Shatto died in January in unclear circumstances.
Russian lawmakers want the U.S. Congress to help return to Russia the brother of a boy who died while in the care of his adopted family in Texas.

The death of Max Shatto, born Maksim Kuzmin, is creating fresh tensions between Moscow and Washington.

Russia says Shatto was beaten and abused before he died. U.S. officials say the case is under investigation.

In a unanimous vote in the State Duma, Russian lawmakers called on the U.S. Congress to "support the Russian Federation in deciding the matter of returning Kirill Kuzmin back to the country of his origin for the sake of humanitarian reasons and the child's security."

Earlier on February 22, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said he was "troubled" by reactions in Russia to Shatto's death.

"It is time for sensational exploitations of human tragedy to end and for professional work between our two countries to grow, on this issue and many others," he wrote in a blog post.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was against a full ban on all foreign adoptions.

Peskov said the harsh statements by Russian officials and lawmakers were driven by the "zero tolerance" of Russians to the deaths of children adopted by Americans.

Analysts say Moscow has exploited Shatto's death to justify its ban on Americans adopting Russian children.

Moscow took that step after Washington passed legislation imposing visa and asset bans on Russians accused of violating human rights.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting

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