Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he saw no reason not to sign a bill into law that would ban Americans adopting Russian children and promised measures to improve care of his country's orphaned youngsters.
Although Putin said he would need to study the final text of the bill, the comments were the strongest indication yet that he will approve the adoption ban legislation, which has strained U.S.-Russia relations.
Parliament gave its final approval on Wednesday to the bill that would also bring in other measures in retaliation for new U.S. legislation designed to punish Russians accused of human rights violations.
"So far I see no reason not to sign it, although I have to review the final text and weigh everything," Putin said in televised remarks at a meeting of senior federal and regional officials.
"I am ready to sign not only the law ... but also a presidential decree that will modify the support mechanisms for orphaned children ... especially those who are in a difficult situation, by that I mean in poor health," Putin said.
Critics of the bill say Russia is playing politics with the lives of children. Child rights 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.