MOSCOW, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A Russian official called Wednesday for a moratorium on foreign adoption until safeguards for children are in place.
Pavel Astakhov, Russia's children's rights ombudsman, spoke out after an American woman told a television talk show she poured ice cold water over her 7-year-old Russian adopted son and made him rinse out his mouth with hot pepper sauce, RIA Novosti reported.
He said 17 Russian children have died in the United States from such abuse.
"International adoptions between Russia and the United States have been in place for 16 years, but there has been no official bilateral agreement yet," Astakhov said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper.
"It has been quite a revelation to me that children are being shipped out of Russia in their dozens, without any agreements. ... I say that such agreements should be signed not only with the United States, but also with the U.K., France, Germany and other countries. Until those agreements are reached, it is necessary to halt adoptions."
Last year, an American woman sent an 8-year-old adopted boy back to Russia on a plane by himself because he had behavior problems.