SEOUL: Eight Russian diplomats and family members — the youngest of them a three-year-old girl — have arrived home from North Korea on a hand-pushed rail trolley due to Pyongyang’s coronavirus restrictions.
Video posted on Russia’s foreign ministry’s verified Telegram account 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 late Thursday, speaking of the final stretch.
“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.
“Don’t leave your own behind”, the ministry added as a hashtag.
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.