US 'deeply regrets' signing of Russia adoption law
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
A woman holds a poster saying 'Russia! Do not give children to USA' as she supports a bill banning adoption of Russian orphans by American citizens outside the Federation Council building in Moscow, Russia, early 26 December 2012. EPA PhotoThe United States today expressed deep regret after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a tough anti-US adoption law, and said it hoped cases already under way would not be affected.
"We deeply regret Russia's passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement, decrying the move as "politically motivated".
The law -- retaliation for a US law punishing Russian officials implicated in the 2009 prison death of the whistle-blowing attorney Sergei Magnitsky -- will come into force on January 1, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The highly contentious measure is seen as the toughest piece of anti-US legislation during Putin's 13-year rule and has prompted objections not just from activists but even some cabinet ministers.
A particular subject of concern are the dozens of Russian children who are now in limbo. Having been prepared for US adoption, they are now effectively banned from leaving for their new lives.
Ventrell said Washington hopes Moscow will "allow those children who have already met and bonded with their future parents to finish the necessary legal procedures so that they can join their families." Another tough component of the law restricts Russian NGOs that have members with US citizenship or financing from the United States.
The Russian law will "make it more difficult for Russian and American non-governmental organizations to cooperate in areas as diverse as human rights advocacy, open government, and electoral transparency," Ventrell said.
"The United States remains committed to supporting the development of civil society and the democratic process around the world, including in Russia." Over the past 20 years, American families have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children, Ventrell said, "and the vast majority of these children are now thriving thanks to their parents' loving support." "The Russian government's politically motivated decision will reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care," he said.