Putin supports ban on US adoptions

President Vladimir Putin supported a ban on Americans adopting Russian children on Thursday in a feud over a US human rights law which he said was poisoning relations.

Putin, 60, used the marathon live broadcast to dismiss speculation about his health at a Moscow conference centre.

He became particularly animated when asked about the spat with Washington. He described as "unfriendly" the legislation signed by President Barack Obama last week that will punish Russians accused of violating human rights by refusing them visas and freezing their assets in the US.

"This, of course, poisons our relationship," he said. But Putin signaled that he would sign into law a tit-for-tat move proposed by Russia's lower house of parliament to prevent Americans adopting Russian children as well as barring entry to US citizens accused of abusing Russians' rights."It is an emotional response by the State Duma but it is an appropriate response," he said of the parliamentary measure.

The Kremlin says Barack Obama is likely to visit Russia in the first half of 2013 but Western diplomats say the US president will agree to a summit only if he feels progress can be made.

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