Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to sign a bill that would prevent Americans from adopting Russian children:

The bill is widely seen as the Kremlin’s retaliation against an American law that calls for sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators. It comes as Putin takes an increasingly confrontational attitude toward the West, brushing aside concerns about a crackdown on dissent and democratic freedoms.

Dozens of Russian children close to being adopted by American families now will almost certainly be blocked from leaving the country. The law also cuts off the main international adoption route for Russian children stuck in often dismal orphanages: Tens of thousands of Russian youngsters have been adopted in the U.S. in the past 20 years. There are about 740,000 children without parental care in Russia, according to UNICEF.

“Since 1992, American families have welcomed more than 60,000 Russian children into their homes, providing them with an opportunity to grow up in a family environment,” [State Dept.] spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement from Washington. “The bill passed by Russia’s parliament would prevent many children from enjoying this opportunity …

This bill would also affect pending adoptions. If the bill is signed into law, 46 children would be forced to remain in Russia:

Absolutely monstrous. Conservative author and commentator Laura Ingraham, who has two adopted Russian children, took to Twitter to express her disappointment and disgust:

Many other Twitterers with friends or relatives who have adopted or have been adopted weighed in with testimonials of their own:

And parents of adopted Russian children are heartbroken:

A woman who herself was adopted from Russia had this to say:

Putin claims to be doing this out of concern for the children, but he is merely using them as pawns in his egomaniacal political games; it’s the children who will suffer the most. Shame on him.