Russia stops adoptions by foreigners

Russia's commissioner for children's rights, Pavel Astakhov, has announced that Russia has suspended all adoptions of children by foreigners until bilateral agreements are signed to protect the children.

Astakhov stressed that this is a de facto situation and no official decision has been taken so far. He explained that, according to Russia’s Family Code, foreign adoptions are exclusive and could be allowed only if there is a bilateral international agreement.

"Otherwise, the earlier adoptions of over 70,000 children in the United States will be deemed illegal," he said, informs Itar-TASS news agency.

It follows the suspension on adoptions of Russian children by American citizens last month, after a US woman sent her seven-year-old adopted son back to Russia alone on a transatlantic flight.

It was the latest in a string of cases of neglect by adoptive parents, including the deaths of Russian children in the US.

The ban will remain in place until international agreements ensuring the safety of children are signed.

Talks on the issue are underway, with the next round scheduled for early July.

So far, Russia has signed an adoption agreement only with Italy, but is conducting talks with France and Spain, as well as the US.