Record numbers of Russians seek asylum

Nov. 5, 2003 at 12:48 PM
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MOSCOW, Nov. 5 (UPI) -- More than 18,000 Russians reportedly have applied for political asylum in other nations so far this year, up by more than 56 percent from last year's 12,000.

The Moscow Times said only Iraq had more people seeking political asylum than Russia, according to the U.N. list of countries whose nationals seek political asylum.

Among European countries, the United Nations said Austria, the Czech Republic and Poland received the most asylum applications from Russian citizens this year.

Officials, however, told the Times a substantial number of the Russian asylum-seekers were Chechens or other people fleeing war in the North Caucasus region.

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