Finnish boy in diplomatic row

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Finnish boy in diplomatic row

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The fate of a 7 year-old boy who is at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between Moscow and Helsinki could be decided soon.

Robert Rantala was placed in an orphanage by Finnish social services last year after claiming his Russian mother was about to split from his Finnish father and leave the country.

Robert’s parents denied this and tried to get him back, but their parenting rights were taken away.

The long-running saga took another twist when the youngster escaped from protective custody and returned home.

Now, Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov is in Helsinki demanding answers.

‘‘The inspector investigates the case and asks the opinion of the child, but nobody takes it into account. Why? When the convention clearly states that the child’s opinion should be respected. Robert weeps and cries but nobody listens in Finland,’‘ he said.

The Rantala family say they hope the Russian official will be able to resolve the dispute with Finland’s authorities.

He is due to meet the Finnish President during the visit.