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Russia scraps US student exchange after gay couple adopts teen

Russia scraps US student exchange after gay couple adopts teen

Russia has suspended a long-running student exchange program with the US after a teenager stayed in the country under the guardianship of a gay couple.

The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) had helped the couple bypass laws banning adoptions from countries that recognize gay marriage, and had not respected the ‘moral and ethical principles of Russian society.’

Children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said, ‘A child, who has a mother in Russia, has illegally been placed under guardianship, and the boy has been handed over to a US gay couple.

‘The child hails from a decent family and is healthy so it’s unclear what arguments those in the US have been guided by.’

He added that the boy’s mother did not want to release any further details of the case.

More than 8,000 Russian high school students went to the US on FLEX which was established in 1992 to build ties between the countries after the Cold War.

US ambassador to Russia John Tefft on Tuesday said, ‘We deeply regret this decision by the Russian government to end a program that for 21 years has built deep and strong connections between the people of Russia and the United States.’