Wednesday Feb 20, 201305:47 AM GMT
Russia investigates adopted boy's death in US
Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:46AM
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Russian investigators have opened an inquiry into the death of an adopted 3-year-old boy in the United States in a case that could aggravate a row with Washington over adoptions in Russia.

 

Russian officials said they are concerned that Maxim Shatto, whose Russian name is Maxim Kuzmin, may have been badly beaten before his death on January 21 in his home in Texas.

 

Moscow seized on the case as justifying a new law banning adoptions of Russian children by Americans, a measure that has escalated a tit-for-tat row with Washington over trade and human rights.

 

"I would like to draw your attention to yet another case of inhumane treatment of a Russian child adopted by American parents," Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's human rights representative, said in a statement.

 

Shatto was adopted with his younger brother Kirill from an orphanage in Pskov in northwest Russia.

 

U.S. authorities said the circumstances surrounding the boy's death were under investigation, and the results of an autopsy were pending, according to the Ector County Sheriff's office.

 

Texas child welfare authorities were also investigating allegations of child abuse and neglect in the case, a process that can take a month or more, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins said on Tuesday. Reuters

 

FACTS & FIGURES

 

American families adopt more Russian children than those of any other country, with more than 60,000 cases since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, including 962 in 2011. Reuters

 

In January, Russia announced it was banning all American adoptions in retaliation for a new U.S. law targeting alleged Russian human rights violators. Sky News

 

The ban on adoptions reflects lingering resentment over the 60,000 Russian children adopted by Americans in the past two decades, of which at least 19 have died. Sky News

 

Russia reacted extremely critically to the fact that the U.S. waited almost a month before notifying Russian authorities about the death of Maxim Kuzmin. Even then, it was Texas’ law enforcement authorities that spoke out, while the other U.S. channels remained mute on the subject. Russia Today

 

AHT/ARA

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