VLADIVOSTOK, March 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has welcomed the promise by US Secretary of State John Kerry to personally take part in investigating the deaths of Russian adoptees in the United States.
“I think this is a very important statement. We will strive to make these words become practical deeds,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russia’s Channel One on Sunday, commenting on his first bilateral meeting with Kerry in Berlin this week.
Lavrov said his US counterpart has acknowledged that the problems surrounding adopted Russian children are “real” and assured that he will “personally take all the necessary measures to ensure full transparency and accountability for us in this area in the United States.”
The issue of safety of Russian adoptees in the United States has helped bring bilateral ties between the two countries to one of their lowest points since the end of the Cold War.
Citing numerous abuse cases and fatalities involving adopted Russian children in the United States, Moscow last month banned US citizens from adopting Russian children in what some see as a response the Magnitsky Act, which became law in December.
Tensions reached uncharted heights after Russia’s children ombudsman Pavel Astakhov reported last month that the three-year-old Maxim Kuzmin, adopted from Pskov Region by a Texan couple last fall along with his brother Kirill, 2, died due to abuse by his new mother.
Russian officials were angered after the US officials announced that the death of the Russian child was an “accident.” Astakhov reacted with the statement, “The 3-year-old boy became a victim of big politics.”