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Hunt for American woman who dumped adopted Russian twins on freezing street with just a note saying: 'I've given them up' Read

Arrest warrant issued for unidentified woman, 28, who was 'on the run'

Twins adopted by an American woman, 28, were found abandoned on a freezing Russian street with a note saying she no longer wanted them.

Sasha and Masha are just 15 months old and the 'cruelty' of the mother's rejection has led to a demand from the Kremlin's children's tsar Pavel Astakhov for a total ban on adoptions to American parents.

He branded the woman - who has not been identified and is now on the run - as an 'absolutely immoral person', and the case has been dubbed an 'outrage' by the Russian media.

It has alarming echoes of a 2010 episode in which Tennessee woman Torry Hansen sent her adopted seven-year-old Russian son Artem Saveliev on a plane back to Moscow alone with a message saying: 'I no longer wish to parent this child.'

Custodial staff in Russia's second city of St Petersburg discovered the twins - a boy and a girl - in sub-zero temperatures close to the front door of their institution.

'An unidentified man brought them in a pram and left quickly,' said the city's children's ombudsman Svetlana Agapitova.

A note found with the twins said she had 'given them up', it was reported.

'She decided to abandon the twins. Moreover, she opted not to do this in person,' Ms Agapitova said.

The twins were now being cared for at a children's hospital while a decision is made on their fate.

Officials said they were adopted six months ago in the Russian city of Tula by the woman who posed as a single mother and made a 'positive impression'.

A search warrant has been issued and she is wanted by Russian police. She was believed to be abroad, with one report saying she did not ask anyone to give the children back and claiming she has suffered a mental breakdown as a result of the scandal.

The woman reportedly lied when she adopted the children by failing to admit her US citizenship - and the fact that she was married to an American, who should have been vetted for his suitability as an adopted father, said officials.

When the authorities discovered this they demanded the adoptive mother give details of the man, and provide his consent to caring for the children.

'Soon after this, the children were found abandoned in an act of the most awful cruelty,' said a source.

Mr Astakhov condemned the woman's 'immoral and illegal act' and called for her to be stripped of her U.S. passport.

His press office claimed the woman 'is destroying the work done by the U.S. to bring order to adoption issues. Unfortunately, the US is currently unable to protect children adopted in Russia.'

There was extreme concern in Russia over a number of cases involving adoptions to the US.

Astakhov personally dedicated himself to finding a new Russian home for little Artem, who is now cherished and loved by a foster mother who plans to adopt him and other children from broken homes.

The Russian media has highlighted a string of other cases in which it claims adopted children have been tortured or maltreated by U.S. adoptive parents.

After the latest case, Mr Astakhov called for the suspension of all adoptions to America until a bilateral agreement between the two countries is ratified.

'It is contempt for Russian legislation, and the rights of our children. Two children were adopted by an absolutely immoral person,' he said.

The U.S. address of the woman and her husband were not disclosed.

2012 Mar 12