UK & World News
US Adoption Couple Killed Son, Russia Claims
Russian authorities have claimed that the US adoptive parents of a three-year-old boy subjected him to "inhuman treatment" that led to his death.
The country's top investigation agency blames neglect and child abuse for the death of Max Shatto, who was adopted from the town of Pskov, near the border with Estonia.
Russia's Investigative Committee said that it had questions about the death of Maxim Kuzmin, who lived with his adoptive parents, Laura and Alan Shatto in Gardendale, about 350 miles west of Dallas, before his death.
Texas Child Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed that the agency was investigating the death and had received allegations that Max had been physically abused and neglected.
However, Sergeant Gary Duesler, spokesman for the Ector County Sheriff's Office in West Texas said that no arrests had been made and that they were awaiting autopsy results.
He said he could not immediately confirm or deny Russian allegations of abuse.
Max died on January 21 this year, just weeks after his third birthday.
His death will further exacerbate tensions between Russia and the US over the adoption of Russian children by American families.
Last month Russia announced it was banning all American adoptions in retaliation for a new US law targeting alleged Russian human rights violators.
The ban also reflects lingering resentment over the 60,000 Russian children adopted by Americans in the past two decades, of which at least 19 have died.
Russian Foreign Ministry official Konstantin Dolgov said in a statement that Max's death was "yet another case of inhuman treatment of a Russian child adopted by American parents".
Mr Dolgov also accused the US State Department of not helping Russian consular officials investigate the death.
A State Department official said the government was aware of the case and "takes very seriously the welfare of children, particularly children who have been adopted from other countries.
"We will continue to assist the Russian Embassy and consulate officials in making contact with the appropriate authorities in Texas."
Mr Crimmins confirmed that the Russian consulate had contacted Child Protective Services with its concerns.