Putin signs ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children

Fri Dec 28, 2012 2:53pm EST
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By Alissa de Carbonnel

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday that bans Americans from adopting Russian children and imposes other sanctions in retaliation for a new U.S. human rights law that he says is poisoning relations.

Washington has called the new Russian law misguided, saying it ties the fate of children to "unrelated political considerations", and analysts say it is likely to deepen a chill in U.S.-Russia relations and harm Putin's image abroad.

Six children whose adoption has already been decided in court will go to the United States, while 46 other children whose adoption was still underway must stay in Russia, Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Dozhd television channel.

The new law, which has also ignited outrage among Russian liberals and child rights' advocates, takes effect on January 1.

The legislation, whose text was issued by the Kremlin, will also outlaw some non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding and impose a visa ban and asset freeze on Americans accused of violating the rights of Russians abroad.

Pro-Kremlin lawmakers initially drafted the bill to mirror the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which bars entry to Russians accused of involvement in the death in custody of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other alleged rights abuses.

The restrictions on adoptions and non-profit groups were added to the legislation later, going beyond a tit-for-tat move and escalating a dispute with Washington at a time when ties are already strained by issues such as the Syrian crisis.

U.S.-based human rights organization Freedom House called the law an "attack against one of the most vulnerable groups in the Russian society."   Continued...

Russia's President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a ceremony to present high-rank officer personnel at the Kremlin in Moscow December 28, 2012. REUTERS/Aleksei Nikolskyi/RIA Novosti/Pool