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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Schroeder 'adopts Russian girl'
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Schroeder did not 'want to elaborate' on the details
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his wife have adopted a three-year-old Russian girl, German media report.

Viktoria, from an orphanage in St Petersburg, is reported to have been living with the Schroeders in Hanover for the past few weeks.

On Wednesday, Mr Schroeder confirmed that they had adopted a child but asked reporters to respect their privacy.

Bild newspaper says Mr Schroeder's wife Doris Schroeder-Koepf actively supports a children's charity in St Petersburg.

Doris has a daughter Klara, 13, from a previous relationship with a TV journalist. She lives with the couple.

Bild says four-times married Mr Schroeder, who has no children of his own, has repeatedly expressed concern for the plight of needy children on visits in Russia and the adoption of Viktoria may be linked to his close friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Schroeder gave no further details about the adoption, telling reporters: "I am quite certain that you understand that I do not want to elaborate."

Reuters news agency says Mr Schroeder, 60, would have trouble adopting a child in Germany because of his age.

Mr Schroeder never knew his father, Fritz Schroeder, a soldier who died fighting in Romania in 1944.

Last Friday, the chancellor made headlines when he paid his first visit to the grave.

The location of the grave was first discovered three years ago, but previous planned visits were cancelled.

Schroeder visits father's grave
12 Aug 04  |  Europe
Profile: Doris Schroeder-Koepf
18 Jan 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Germany
20 Jul 04  |  Country profiles
Profile: Gerhard Schroeder
23 Sep 02  |  Europe

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