Finnish authorities vow not to take children away from Zavgorodnyaya again

Russia's Foreign Ministry has confirmed that a Russian woman who is resident in Finland and has been deprived of her parental rights there demanded on Wednesday that the Russian Embassy in Helsinki help her return to Russia or give her asylum on its premises.

"It is true that, on November 7, Anastasia Zavgorodnyaya demanded that the Russian Embassy in Helsinki provide her with a car for her family to leave for Russia or provide her with asylum on the premises of our embassy in Helsinki," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a briefing on Thursday.

Zavgorodnyaya claimed that, though she had been allowed to reunite with her children, Finnish social services were going to take them away from her again, Lukashevich said.

"The embassy immediately contacted the social services, from which they received unambiguous assurances that those services had no plans to take the children into their custody in contravention of the current agreement on the reunification of the family," he said.

Zavgorodnyaya had all her four children, including a five-day-old baby, taken away from her by social services early last month because of alleged violence in her family. Reports said the measure was used after her six-year-old daughter claimed at school that her father had given her a slap on the backside.

After intervention from the Russian Embassy, the newborn baby was returned to Zavgorodnyaya on condition that she stay with the child at a social services facility. The other children were living in another facility, separately from their mother.

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