MOSCOW, Russia — Russian lawmakers on Monday brought a bill to vote that would ban the adoption of Russian children by citizens of “unfriendly” countries as tensions soar over Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
If passed, the bill would expand a 2012 law that prohibited US families from adopting Russian children.
At the time, the ban provoked an outcry, with Kremlin critics saying it made Russian orphans — many with physical or mental difficulties — the victims of a standoff between Washington and Moscow.
The new bill published on the website of parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, proposes extending the ban to citizens of countries “that commit unfriendly actions” against Russia.
After the West piled unprecedented sanctions on Moscow following President Vladimir Putin’s decision to send troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24, Russia expanded the list of what it calls “unfriendly” countries.
They now include the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and all EU member states.
The bill has to be approved by both chambers of the Russian parliament and signed into law by Putin.
In 2012, Moscow banned the adoption of Russian children by American families to punish Washington over its passing of a law sanctioning Russian officials implicated in the death in jail of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
Since the law was introduced, the number of Russian children adopted by foreign families has dropped drastically.
State news agency TASS said 240 Russian children were adopted abroad in 2019, compared with 2,604 in 2012.