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Russia Furious Over Adopted Boy Sent Back From US

The country threatened to suspend adoptions by U.S. families after the seven-year-old was sent back to Moscow on a one-way flight.

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Russian officials said he turned up at the door of the Russian Education and Science Ministry on Thursday afternoon accompanied by a Russian man who handed over the boy and his documents, then left, officials said. The child holds a Russian passport.

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Rob Johnson, a spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Children's Services, said the agency is looking into Friday's allegations, although it does not handle international adoptions.

Bedford County Sheriff Randall Boyce also said Torry Hansen was under investigation, but he hasn't interviewed the Hansens because their lawyer has advised them not to talk.

Lavrov said his ministry would recommend that the U.S. and Russia hammer out an agreement before any new adoptions are allowed.

"We have taken the decision ... to suggest a freeze on any adoptions to American families until Russia and the U.S.A. sign an international agreement" on the conditions for adoptions, Lavrov said.

He said the U.S. had refused to negotiate such an accord in the past but "the recent event was the last straw."

Pavel Astakhov, the children rights commissioner, said in a televised interview that a treaty is vital to protect Russian citizens in other countries.

"How can we prosecute a person who abused the rights of a Russian child abroad? If there was an adoption treaty in place, we would have legal means to protect Russian children abroad," he said.

Stephen Flanagan, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the strong Russian reaction should not be a surprise.

"It's another sign of their incapacities at home, so when they see a former Russian citizen overseas mistreated or perceived to be mistreated it's something they try to use politically, but I can't see it leading to a rupture in U.S.-Russian relations," Flanagan said. "It's an unfortunate thing but it's in a different category."

Despite the uproar over adoptions, placing children inside Russia remains difficult. There are more than 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, according to UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund.

Previous adoption failures have increased Russian officials' wariness of adoptions to the U.S.

In 2006, Peggy Sue Hilt of Manassas, Virginia, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after being convicted of fatally beating a 2-year-old girl adopted from Siberia months earlier.

In 2008, Kimberly Emelyantsev of Tooele, Utah, was sentenced to 15 years after pleading guilty to killing a Russian infant in her care.

And in March of this year, prosecutors in Pennsylvania met with a Russian diplomats to discuss how to handle the case of a couple accused of killing their 7-year-old adopted Russian son at their home near the town of Dillsburg.

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