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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraqi Refugees Relinquish Danish Embassy Asylum

Twenty-four Iraqi refugees evacuated the Danish embassy on Wednesday, after spending about two weeks as unwanted guests.


"These people are economic, not political refugees", said Vagn Egebjerg, the Danish Ambassador in Russia.


"You don't throw out people with children in below freezing weather if you are a nice person", Egebjerg said. "But they can't come to Denmark. We kept them until their requests for citizenship were processed in Denmark".


Once Danish officials rejected their requests, the Danish embassy arranged, and the Iraqis agreed, to move to a refugee camp outside of Moscow.


The refugees, who range in age from six months to 40 years old, are mainly from Baghdad. Though they are Iraqi, they claim to be of Iranian descent. Some say they have relatives in Denmark, Egebjerg said.


The incident is just the latest in a series of involving asylum seekers from around the world.


Last month, about 75 Iraqis, mainly Kurds, smashed their way into the lobby of a Moscow building where the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have their offices. At the time, the group, along with about 125 Iraqis who remained outside the building, asked the Red Cross to help send them to the West;


45 refused to leave the building for the next three weeks, said Stephen Richards, Red Cross director in Moscow.


Between 7, 000 and 15, 000 asylum seekers from outside the former Soviet Union now live in the Moscow area, said officials.


The asylum seekers consist of Iraqis, Iraqi Kurds, Somalis, Afghans and Ethiopians, Akiwumi said.