Russian ombudsman calls for accord with Finland on children's rights

A top Russian ombudsman has insisted that Russia and Finland sign an agreement on children's rights in family disputes.

"We must find a way to persuade Finnish authorities that they need a dialogue with Russia on the defense of children and sign a bilateral agreement. If Finland refuses to hold negotiations, it should be declared a country dangerous for the life of foreign (Russian) families with children," a statement from the office of Russia's commissioner for children's rights, Pavel Astakhov, quoted him as saying.

The statement was a response to a reported incident in Finland where Russian national Anastasia Zavgorodnaya had her four children taken away from her by authorities. It said Astakhov, who is a lawyer, was preparing an appeal to the Russian Foreign Ministry to give extensive assistance to Zavgorodnaya.

Astakhov is also planning a report to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the position of Russian children in Finland.

On Saturday morning, Rimma Salonen, an activist in international movement Russian Mothers, told Interfax that the children taken away from Zavgorodnyaya included a newborn baby.

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