"Our overall approach remains to try to cooperate with Russia as much as we can on as many issues as we can that we share, whether they’re bilateral issues, whether they’re regional issues like Nagorno-Karabakh, or whether they’re global issues like Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, et cetera,” Nuland said.
The Russian law, which was fast-tracked through parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin late last year, is part of a wider response by Moscow to the Magnitsky Act, a US law that imposes travel bans and other sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses. The law was signed into force by US President Barack Obama late last year.
State Duma lawmakers said the law was a response to what they called the inaction of US officials over the deaths of 19 Russian children adopted by Americans since 1999. Over 45,000 Russian children have been adopted by US families in that period, according to the US State Department.
Moscow terminated its bilateral child adoption agreement with Washington on January 9.
Russian officials said the ban halted the adoption of 46 Russian children by US families whose cases are currently being processed. The US puts the number affected by the ban at 500-1,000 at various stages of adoption.
Nuland explained the difference in numbers by varying approaches.
"Our numbers, based on our call for information from American families since this began a couple of weeks ago,” she said.
"I can’t speak to where that 46 number came from or how the Russians calculate. The last stage in this process is for the Russians to issue a passport so that the child can travel. So it’s possible that that number reflects that very last thing,” the spokeswoman went on.