MOSCOW, December 25 - RAPSI. The White House voiced concerns Tuesday over the Russian bill that would ban adoptions of Russian children by US citizens. In its response to a petition calling for sanctions to be imposed on Russian lawmakers, the White House issued a statement saying that the US “will continue to raise these concerns with the Russian government.”

The petition asked for lawmakers to be punished under the Magnitsky Act, a newly enacted US law that denies visas to Russian officials deemed by Washington to be complicit in human rights abuses, and freezes their American assets.

“Children should have every opportunity to grow up in loving families; their fate should not be linked to unrelated political considerations,” the White House said in its response. It didn’t elaborate if the steps proposed in the petition are to be enforced.

The petition, published on the White House website on Friday, had gathered 54,521 signatures by Tuesday. An additional petition for sanctions to be imposed on President Vladimir Putin, if he signs the bill, collected 12,174 signatures in two days.

The ban on US adoptions was introduced by Russian lawmakers as part of bill responding to the US Magnitsky Act. It has been already passed in three readings by Russia’s lower house of parliament.

It will be reviewed on Wednesday by the upper chamber, the Federation Council. If approved, it would either be vetoed or signed into law by President Vladimir Putin.
The proposed adoption ban caused a flurry of discussion in blogs and the liberal media in Russia, with critics accusing the lawmakers of exploiting children for political gain.