WASHINGTON, Dec. 26 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government said on Wednesday that it regrets the approval by the Russian parliament for a bill that bans American citizens from adopting Russian children.
"Since 1992, American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, providing them with an opportunity to grow up in a family environment," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement. "The bill passed by Russia's parliament would prevent many children from enjoying this opportunity."
He noted that it is "misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations."
The Russian Federation Council, or the upper house of the parliament, approved on Wednesday the anti-Magnitsky Act", or the Dima Yakovlev bill, which bans U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans and acting as intermediaries in that sphere.
The bill is widely seen as a retaliation to the U.S. "Magnitsky Act", which was passed by the U.S. House and the Senate in November. The "Magnitsky Act" imposes visa bans and asset freezes on Russian officials considered responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in 2009 in a Moscow jail after accusing officials of tax fraud.
According to the Russian process, the bill will be submitted to President Vladimir Putin for signing. It would take effect on Jan. 1, 2013 if signed by the president into law.