Russian President Vladmir Putin said on Thursday that he will sign into law a bill that would ban all adoptions of Russian children by US citizens. The move is retaliation for a US law that punishes Russians who have been accused of violating human rights.
Russia's parliament has already passed the bill, which would also outlaw the work of some US-funded NGOs in Russia.
According to ABC News, the in-progress adoptions of 46 Russian children destined for American familieswill be halted if the bill becomes law.
The Russian law was drafted in retaliation for a new law passed in the US that sanctions Russian officials implicated in the 2009 prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, Agence France Presse reported.
Russia is the third most popular place from which Americans adopt children. According to the US State Department, over 45,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families since 1999.
Critics of the bill say Russia is using parentless children as political pawns, Reuters reported. Advocates say children in Russia's crowded and troubled orphanage system will have less of a chance of finding homes if the bill becomes law.
Reports have noted that more than half of Russians surveyed support the ban on adoptions, according to a recent poll by the Public Opinion Foundation, a research firm based in Moscow. The remainder of those polled were roughly split between opposing the ban and having no opinion about it, ABC News reported.