SIMFEROPOL, May 15 (RAPSI) – The foreign adoption of orphans and children without parental care has been suspended in Crimea, announced the press office of the Crimean Ministry of Education, Science and Youth.

Under Russian law, foreigners can start the adoption process a year after the children’s names have been added to the state database of orphans and children without parental care.

“The Ministry of Education, Science and Youth is only preparing this information for the state database,” the press office said.

The Dima Yakovlev law prohibiting US nationals from adopting Russian children was signed by President Vladimir Putin in late 2012 and came into force in January 2013. Dima Yakovlev died at the age of 21 months in July 2008 after his adoptive father Michael Harrison left him in a locked car in a parking lot for nine hours. Harrison was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.

Crimea, a largely Russian-speaking republic, was part of Russia until Khrushchev gave it to Ukraine in 1954. President Putin said in an address to federal and regional officials in March that the decision was made in clear violation of the constitutional standards of the time.

Crimea moved for independence from Ukraine after having refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government that came to power following the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

On March 17, President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state. The same day, the leaders of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol and Putin signed a treaty on the unification of Crimea with Russia.