MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russian officials on Friday clarified that a recent US-Russian adoption agreement would not overrule the ban on adoptions by US nationals that came into force on January 1.
“Contrary to some interpretations, the agreement doesn’t say that Russia is obliged to hand over [Russian] children to American adoptive parents,” spokesman of the Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich told RIA Novosti on Friday.
A Kremlin spokesman said on Thursday that the US-Russian adoption agreement enacted in November would remain in force until year’s end, sparking confusion in the media and raising false hopes for American families hoping to adopt Russian children.
“The agreement is in force at the moment,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told RIA Novosti, adding that “it will be in force over the course of the year.”
Russian children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Friday that the fate of every child whose adoption was approved by a court prior to the New Year, but not completed in terms of paperwork and travel, would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
“I’m waiting for the list from [Education and Science] Minister Livanov. A decision will be made on each case, and the Foreign Ministry is working out the procedure,” Astakhov said.
US State Department officials said Thursday they had been contacted by about 950 individuals who were in the process of adopting Russian children when the adoption ban came into effect. Apparently, only a handful of them will be allowed to complete their adoptions.
The Dozhd television channel calculated that only six of 52 children now in the care of the state and in the process of being adopted by US parents would be able to leave Russia, while 46 would have to stay.
When the agreement is suspended next year, the Foreign Ministry will continue to monitor adopted Russian children in US families under the 1964 bilateral consular convention, Lukashevich said.
The adoption ban, signed into law by Putin on December 28, 2012, is part of Russia’s response to the so-called Magnitsky Act, approved by the US in December. The act introduces sanctions against Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses and was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblowing lawyer who died in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
Opponents of the ban will hold a demonstration in downtown Moscow on Sunday.