Russian officials were unable Friday to clarify the country’s position on adoption of orphans by American parents but made it clear that in all likelihood only a handful of cases will go forward.

A law banning all such adoptions went into effect Jan. 1, but on Thursday a Kremlin spokesman noted that a bilateral agreement between Moscow and Washington remains in effect for another year. Some officials suggested Friday that only those adoptions that have already received final court approval — possibly as few as six — will be able to go ahead.

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Other pending adoptions, said Pavel Astakhov, the children’s ombudsman and a supporter of the ban, may be decided on a case-by-case basis. The Foreign Ministry pointed out that Russia is not obliged to hand any children over to adoptive parents.