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Russian President Vladimir Putin says he intends to sign the law that bans U.S. adoption of Russian children. The measure, seen as retaliation for recent U.S. laws against alleged human rights violations, was unanimously passed on Wednesday.
The law, which has been widely criticized within Russia and around the world, comes after the U.S. passed the Magnitsky Act, named after Sergei Magnitsky, who was imprisoned after exposing political corruption in Russia. He died in prison in 2009. It is also part of Putin’s ongoing hardline approach to the West.
According to NBC News, the bill is named after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler who was adopted by Americans. He died in 2009 after being left in his father’s car. His father was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but was found not guilty.
“I intend to sign the law,” Putin told officials Thursday, reports The New York Times, “as well as a presidential decree changing the procedure of helping orphaned children, children left without parental care, and especially children who are in a disadvantageous situation due to their health problems.”
U.S. officials were disappointed by the law. “It is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations,” a State Department spokesman said Wednesday.
UNICEF estimates that 740,000 Russian children are without parental care. Around 1,000 were adopted by U.S. parents last year.
Russia’s children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov has advocated in favor of the law and says that 46 children in the process of being adopted by Americans will return to Russia.