Russian President Vladimir Putin/file
Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed a law that will prevent Americans from adopting Russian children.
bill, passed in recent days by the nation's parliament, was signed
Friday by the Russian leader and will take effect on January 1.
The law is part of the country's increasingly confrontational stance with the West and has angered some Russians.
The Kremlin has been accused of politicizing a sensitive issue affecting the lives of vulnerable children.
UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children not in parental custody in Russia.
law also blocks dozens of Russian children now in the process of being
adopted by American families from leaving the country.
is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children. More than
60,000 of them have been taken in by Americans over the past two
It is retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed human rights violators.
On Friday, The Financial Times
reported that Mikhail Prokhorov, the billionaire owner of the Brooklyn
Nets basketball club, and a former candidate for president of Russia,
wrote in a blog post, "This law has destroyed the professional
reputations of 400 parliamentarians [who voted for the law]."
The Russian-language hashtag "PutinEatsKids" was trending on Twitter just minutes after Putin signed it.