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U.S. Forms Group With Russia to Monitor Adopted Children

Moscow and Washington have agreed to create a working group to monitor the well-being of Russian children adopted by American families, children's ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said.

The decision is a result of the bilateral negotiations held in Washington.

"The working group will gather twice a year in turn in the U.S. and Russia," Astakhov said on Twitter late Wednesday. "It will consider both urgent problems and investigations and systemic current issues."

He said that officials with the U.S. White House and State Department have confirmed their commitment to cooperate more closely with him and his agency.

Astakhov didn't specify when the group would start its work and who would would be named to it.

Russia has banned the U.S. adoption of Russian children since the beginning of this year. The measure is seen by many as a response to a U.S. decision to ban Russian officials implicated in human rights abuses from coming to the U.S. and having bank accounts there.

Moscow, however, said the child adoption ban was necessary to stop the mistreatment of Russian children in American families.

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