MOSCOW, April 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will discuss with US officials the return of the Kirill Kuzmin, a two-year-old Russian boy adopted by a Texan couple along with his brother, who died in January, a Russian diplomat said Saturday.
The matter will be taken up at bilateral adoption talks in Washington in mid-April, the Russian foreign ministry’s human rights envoy, Konstantin Dolgov, told RIA Novosti.
Bringing Kirill Kuzmin back to Russia “will be extremely hard,” Dolgov conceded.
But a US-Russian adoption agreement allows Russia to at least request the return of an adoptee if that is believed to be in their best interests, he said.
Kirill and his older brother, the three-year-old Maxim, were adopted last fall by Texan couple Alan and Laura Shatto.
Maxim was found dead outside the Shattos house three months after the adoption. An autopsy found more than 30 bruises on his body and named a ruptured artery as the cause of death.
Some Russian officials claimed the boy was abused by his parents, but US authorities ruled his injuries self-inflicted. The boy had a medical record of behavioral disorder.
Kirill Kuzmin currently remains with the Shattos, who denied abusing the children and faced no charges over the case.
Texan authorities refused in February to repatriate the boy.
The agreement Russia hopes to invoke to bring back Kirill Kuzmin was annulled by Moscow in late 2012, but remains in effect until the end of this year for procedural reasons.
The Kremlin has cited US officials’ inability to ensure proper monitoring of Russian adoptees as a reason for canceling the agreement, though critics said the move was retribution for the US Magnitsky Act blacklisting numerous Russian officials for alleged human rights violations.
The whereabouts of Kuzmins’ father are unknown. Their mother, who is living in a rural area of the northern Pskov Region, was stripped of parental rights due to alcoholism.