Eight Russian diplomats and family members arrived home from North Korea on a hand-pushed rail trolley due to Pyongyang’s coronavirus restrictions.
Video posted on Russia’s foreign ministry showed the trolley, laden with suitcases and women, being pushed across a border railway bridge by Third Secretary Vladislav Sorokin, the only man in the group.
They waved and cheered as they approached their homeland, the culmination of an expedition that began with a 32-hour train trip from Pyongyang, followed by a two-hour bus ride to the border.
“It took a long and difficult journey to get home,” the ministry said in the post.
“To do this, you need to make a trolley in advance, put it on the rails, place things on it, seat the children — and go,” it said.
“Finally, the most important part of the route — walking on foot to the Russian side.”
Sorokin was “the main ‘engine’ of the non-self-propelled railcar”, it said, and had to push it for more than a kilometre.
Once on Russian territory, they were met by foreign ministry colleagues and were taken by bus to Vladivostok airport.
North Korea imposed a strict border shutdown in January last year to try to protect itself from the coronavirus that first emerged in neighbouring China and has gone on to sweep the world.
The shutdown has cancelled all flights in or out of the nuclear-armed, sanctions-hit country, and cross-border trains.
This is how a group of Russian diplomats and their family had to get back to #Russia from North Korea because travel links have been cut by COVID for the past year. Russia’s foreign ministry says they had to push the cart about a kilometer. pic.twitter.com/nLoU1rNU6V
— Patrick Reevell (@Reevellp) February 25, 2021