Moratorium on US adoption of Russian children

Russia signalled on Saturday that it could soon slap a moratorium on US adoptions of local children despite the signing of an agreement on the issue in 2011, the latest obstacle in tense relations.

The foreign ministry said in an angry statement that US courts had recently issued a series of unjustifiably lenient sentences to parents who abused Russian children and that such treatment deserved Moscow’s response.

“Against the backdrop of an unending series of crimes in the United States against Russian children, the Russian foreign ministry believes … it expedient to suspend the adoptions procedure for US citizens in the Russian Federation,” the statement said.

It said a special adoptions agreement that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in July 2011 still needed to be toughened before going into effect.

The United States has the world’s largest percentage of adoptive parents and Russia has been one of its biggest providers.

Moscow has long argued it should have more oversight on the adoption process and the row has often been an irritant that flares into diplomatic disputes when the former Cold War rivals clash over other issues, such as the current Syria crisis.

Severe punishment
The ministry made particular reference to the light jail sentence handed in February to a Pennsylvania woman whose Russian toddler was hospitalised with burns over 10% of her body after a particularly severe punishment.

The court ruling “arouses profound dissatisfaction and disapproval,” the Russian statement said.

The foreign ministry’s recommendation means that Russia’s lower house of parliament — a chamber dominated by pro-Kremlin forces — is likely to quickly pick up debate on a bill imposing a moratorium on adoptions by US families.

Such calls have been made in recent weeks by other Russian officials and the chamber’s approval is expected in the coming weeks.

The ministry’s statement was issued just a day after a military court handed down a 13-year jail sentence to a Russian space engineer who was charged with handing secret missile data to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Analysts said such sentences are rarely publicised by Russian authorities unless relations with the United States are at a low. –Sapa-AFP

Subscribe to the M&G for R2 a month

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

And for this weekend only, you can become a subscriber by paying just R2 a month for your first three months.

Related stories

Will Biden and Harris help us breathe again?

The United States’ newly elected leaders, Joe Biden and Kamala Devi Harris, must help recalibrate a global politics of hope and empathy

Khaya Sithole: Tsakani Maluleke’s example – and challenge

Shattering the glass ceiling is not enough, the new auditor general must make ‘live’ audits the norm here in SA

SA in dire need of a political spring tide

The only time change has occurred in South Africa is in response to global events such as World War II. The country is once again facing such an event — Covid-19 — and will have to react

A new Cold War is coming. Africa should not pick sides

COMMENT: As the US and China battle for global domination, Africa must stand firm, charting its own course

Eusebius McKaiser: Two important lessons to learn about racists

The racially intolerant act to keep black people in “their place”, some even while claiming they're allies

US presidential campaign 2020: The Democratic conundrum

As Super Tuesday looms, there are five candidates left in the Democratic race. But the party must ensure it selects someone who will be able to defeat incumbent Donald Trump

Subscribers only

ANC: ‘We’re operating under conditions of anarchy’

In its latest policy documents, the ANC is self-critical and wants ‘consequence management’, yet it’s letting its members off the hook again

Q&A Sessions: ‘I think I was born way before my...

The chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the deputy chair of the SABC board, shares her take on retrenchments at the public broadcaster and reveals why she hates horror movies

More top stories

DRC: Tshisekedi and Kabila fall out

The country’s governing coalition is under strain, which could lead to even more acrimony ahead

Editorial: Crocodile tears from the coalface

Pumping limited resources into a project that is predominantly meant to extend dirty coal energy in South Africa is not what local communities and the climate needs.

Klipgat residents left high and dry

Flushing toilets were installed in backyards in the North West, but they can’t be used because the sewage has nowhere to go

Nehawu leaders are ‘betraying us’

The accusation by a branch of the union comes after it withdrew from a parliamentary process

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…