Russia pulls out of US student exchange program

The government in Moscow has accused the U.S. of endangering an exchange student’s welfare, according to Russian media reports on Monday.

According to RT, Russia’s foreign affairs ministry has announced the largest U.S.-Russia student exchange program, FLEX, will be suspended. The move was reportedly prompted when one Russian student in Michigan refused to return home.

“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,” a ministry spokesperson said, according to RT.

Russia’s ombudsman for children’s rights Pavel Astakhov has also wadded into the debate, arguing the student had been illegally adopted by a U.S. couple.

However, U.S. media have reported the student has applied for asylum, fearing persecution in Russia for his sexual orientation…

(Photo: The Church of the Sainted Apostles Peter and Paul in the Grand Palace at Peterhof, St. Petersburg)