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Foreign Ministry 'Concerned' After Finnish Authorities Seize Russian Children

Zavgorodnyaya told Channel One that she would permanently return to Russia after regaining custody of her children.

The Foreign Ministry said Sunday that it was "seriously concerned" over the seizure by local authorities of four children from a Russian citizen living in Finland.

In a statement posted on its website, the ministry said it was monitoring the situation closely and that embassy officials would meet with Finnish social services in Helsinki on Monday.

The statement follows reports in Russian media that Finnish police moved to seize the children after Anastasia Zavgorodnyaya's 6-year-old daughter told schoolteachers that her father had smacked her on the rear for behaving badly.

All four children, including Zavgorodnyaya's youngest, who was seized Friday and is less than a week old, are apparently living in foster care until social services complete a check into the incident.

Speaking to Channel One on Saturday, Zavgorodnyaya said her children were in a bad state and that she would permanently return to Russia after regaining custody of her children.

RIA-Novosti reported that since a 2008 law entered force, Finnish authorities have tended to seize children from parents suspected of abuse at an early stage of the investigation, conducting more thorough checks once the children are in temporary care.

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