Russia scraps US exchange scheme after teen placed with gay family
Russia has scrapped a long-running high school exchange scheme with the US, after a Russian teen was placed with a gay couple.
The Russian government announced today that it had pulled the plug on the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) programme, claiming that the US violated the terms of the arrangement by placing a child with gays.
Many students on the scheme choose not to return to Russia, but the country argues there were no legal grounds for the child to be placed with a gay couple.
Russia’s 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.”
US ambassador to Russia John Tefft 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.”
Russian government spokesperson Konstantin Dolgov told RT: “An unacceptable situation emerged as a result, when our [Russian] school students were in fact subjected to the legislature of American states, where minors were able to choose on their own and without their parents’ permission their place for living or being adopted.
More than 8000 Russian students have come to the US as part of the scheme since 1992 – with over 70,000 students from Soviet countries applying this year.
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