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Adoption of Russian children by US couples invites many questions - Lavrov

January 21, 2014, 14:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The problem of adoption by U.S. couples concerns not only Russian children - Russia's Foreign Minister
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexandra Mudrats

MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. The problem of adoption, and not only of Russian children, by US couples “invites a host of questions,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference on Tuesday.

“We are discussing this issue with the Department of State,” he noted. “In concrete situations we ask for an access to children who have found themselves in a difficult situation according to US press reports. We ask to ensure this access for us irrespective of whether this agreement exists, as we have the consular convention and other frameworks for legal cooperation,” the foreign minister said reviewing the results of 2013 in his major news conference.

He expressed regrets over failed attempts to get to the Ranch for Kids in Montana, saying it “is still a closed territory for us, while something strange goes on there, even from the point of view of American Themis”.

“We are far from being alone in dissatisfaction with the American system of adoption,” he said. “A number of countries have rescinded their agreements with America, exactly for the very same reason that these agreements are not implemented,” he added. “We will continue discussing this within the framework of a dialogue on human rights,” the top diplomat said.

“The problem of adoption, and not only Russian children, not only children from other states but even American children, invites a host of questions,” he summed up. “The problem remains unresolved, and it has to be discussed in order to get real access to children to understand what situation they are in,” Lavrov added.

Russia’s children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov earlier said that a Russian delegation will go to the U.S. in the second half of February to discuss problems of orphans.

“Dima Yakovlev” law

In 2013, the legislation prohibiting American citizens from adopting Russia children came into effect. The document also banned adoption agencies for foreigners from operating on Russia’s territory. The bilateral agreement between Russia and the United States on cooperation in the field of adoptions officially lapsed.

The agreement was signed after a series of tragic incidents involving Russian children adopted by American families or serious infringements of their rights. However little has changed since then. Moscow sees no real steps by the United States to resolve problems associated with the adoption of Russian children by Americans, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier.

“Dima Yakovlev” law became a response to Magnitsky Act, which backlists Russian officials on the suspicion of human rights abuse and corruption, banning their entry to the United States and freezing their bank accounts, if they have such in the U.S.

The Kuzmin brothers

Maxim Kuzmin, aged 3, who was given the name Max Alan after the adoption, and his younger brother Kirill (Kristopher Elvin) were adopted from a children’s home in the town of Pechory, Pskov region, by Alan and Laura Shatto, who live in Gardendale, Texas, in late 2012. A court decision on their adoption was passed in October 2012, and in late December - early January the children were brought to the United States. The boy died on January 21, less than two weeks after his third birthday. Postmortem examination revealed numerous injuries.

However, U.S. forensic experts said the boy’s death was accidental. The official cause of death was mesenterial intestine arteriorrhexis after a blunt force trauma. In March, the U.S. prosecutors decided not to bring any charges against the boy’s adoptive parents due to the insufficiency of evidence.

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