(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Friday a bill that will ban adoptions to the United States.
The ban, which was added last week to a broader bill retaliating for a set of human rights sanctions that President Obama signed into law earlier this month, will go into effect on Jan. 1.
On Thursday, Putin announced his intentions to approve the legislation and also pledged to improve the lives of children in Russia’s orphanages.
“I intend to sign the law you have just mentioned as well as a presidential decree changing the procedure of helping orphaned children, children left without parental care, and especially children who are in a disadvantageous situation due to their health problems,” he said, according to the Russian Interfax news agency, when asked about the ban during a meeting of the Russian State Council on Thursday.
Putin added that higher living standards overseas are no reason to allow children to be adopted by foreigners.
“There is one more reason of which I haven’t spoken yet, but which I would mention now. Probably there are quite a lot of places in the world where living standards are somewhat better than we have. And so what? Will we send all our children there? Perhaps we will move there ourselves?” he said.
At stake immediately are the cases of 52 Russian children whose adoptions to the U.S. will be frozen, according to Russian officials. Their lives will now be decided by government figures who have pledged to find Russian homes for them.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio