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Russia sees Colorado abuse trial as push for U.S. adoption pact

© RIA Novosti . Grigoriy Sysoev / Go to the photo bankRussia's ombudsman for children's rights Pavel Astakhov
Russia's ombudsman for children's rights Pavel Astakhov - Sputnik International
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The trial of a Colorado couple accused of abusing three sisters adopted from Russia shows why a Russian-U.S. treaty on adoptions should be signed soon, Russia's children's ombudsman said.

The trial of a Colorado couple accused of abusing three sisters adopted from Russia shows why a Russian-U.S. treaty on adoptions should be signed soon, Russia's children's ombudsman said on Sunday.

The Russian president's commissioner for children's rights, Pavel Astakhov, warned that Moscow had no way to legally assist children adopted from Russia who become victims of their adoptive parents.

"I express my grave concern about the situation, the fate of adopted Russian children in the United States, and call for intensified efforts for the early conclusion of a treaty on the regulation of adoptions between our two countries," Astakhov said in a statement.

Edelwina and Steven Leschinsky are charged with one count of child abuse and four other charges. Local media, citing police statements, say the girls were adopted four or five years ago. The sisters are now aged 12, 13 and 14.

Astakhov called for "a just and severe punishment" for the couple, who are due back in court on September 7.

Russia is one of the largest sources of foreign adoptions for U.S. families, accounting for about 10% of foreign adoptions, but the issue has become controversial in recent years following several incidents involving the mistreatment of Russian children in the United States.

Negotiations on a bilateral agreement regulating adoptions began earlier this year following the arrival in Moscow of a 7-year-old boy who was put on a plane with a note from his U.S. adoptive mother, who claimed he was "psychopathic."

At least 15 children have died at the hands of their adoptive parents in the U.S. since the fall of the Soviet Union.

MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti)

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