A Moscow court has ruled in favour of a London mother caught up in an 11-month custody battle with her ex-husband.
Rachael Neustadt’s ex-husband Ilya took their two sons, aged five and seven, on a holiday to Russia in December last year but did not bring them back.
He ignored a number of requests by UK judges to return the boys, his wife claims, but the Moscow City Court has now ruled that they have been kept in Russia illegally and should be flown back to the UK.
“I think [the day they left] my heart started racing and it hasn’t stopped. Every day I think what can I do to bring them back. They liked everything and there’s nothing that tells me why just because they’ve been given a passport that they are Russians that belong in Russia.”
Her mother Merry helped to care for the couple’s youngest child while Rachel fought her ex-husband through the courts. She said:
“It is very confusing for [the boys]. They have been told so much that is totally wrong. For example, that your mother no longer loves you. How do you say that and not damage a child? It’s not right.”
The case was the first involving Russia and England to invoke the 1996 Hague Convention on Parental Responsibility and Protection of Children, a global treaty concerning child protection measures which only came into force within Russia in June and in the UK the previous November.
hoto of Red Square in Moscow, Russia by Dom McIntyre via Flickr