A mother has won a landmark victory in a legal battle to bring her sons back from Russia after they were taken by her ex-husband last year.
Rachael Neustadt said she was “full of tears of relief” after Moscow City Court ruled that the two boys should be reunited with her.
Daniel, aged seven, and five-year-old Jonathan travelled to Russia with Ilya Neustadt last December. Ms Neustadt believed their Russian-born father was taking them on a two-week holiday to visit his family.
But Mr Neustadt, a former London Metropolitan University lecturer, has refused to comply with UK High Court orders to return the boys, who were pupils at the Orthodox Jewish Nancy Reuben primary school in Hendon.
Ms Neustadt, a 35-year-old ex-teacher, flew to Moscow last week to attend the eight-hour hearing.
She said: “I still am full of tears of relief. I would have been devastated had this decision not been made in our favour.”
However, Mr Neustadt can appeal against the decision.
“We have not reached the end of this nightmare — I suspect that we still have a difficult road ahead of us,” said Ms Neustadt.
“I’m so happy to have the court judgment in our favour, but the facts on the ground are very disheartening. I have no access to my own children. I am here in Moscow and I can’t see them — it’s wrong in every way.
“I wish I could already hold my sons in my arms.
“I haven’t had a minute alone with them in nearly nine months. My heart continues to break until they will be in my arms again for good — safe and sound.”
Ms Neustadt, who has left her youngest son Meir with her mother in Hendon, north-west London, said she would remain in the Russian capital until the court had reached a final decision.