Russian diplomats hand-push trolley over North Korea border

Yolanda Curtis
February 27, 2021

Russian diplomats left North Korea by railway trolley Thursday as there was no other transport out.

The diplomats pushed the trolley over a railway bridge for around a kilometre to reach Russian Federation.

"Since the borders have been closed for over a year and passenger traffic has been halted", staff members of the Russian Embassy in North Korea and their family members embarked on "a long and hard journey to get home", the ministry said in a Facebook post.

Outside experts are highly sceptical of the North's zero-virus case claim, with the only nations coronavirus free being a handful of small, isolated island nations.

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Russian diplomats who were working at the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang were forced to use a hand-pushed rail trolley to leave North Korea, which is largely sealed off from the outside world to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but has imposed crippling border closings, banned most global travel, and severely restricted movement inside the country. Since then, the secretive nation has undertaken strict measures to try and prevent the spread of the virus over borders - including blocking global travel.

The group then had to cross the border on foot, loading luggage and passengers onto to a trolley on the train tracks.

According to Russia's Foreign Ministry, which posted about the trip on Facebook Thursday, the departing group included eight embassy employees and their families.

North Korea shut its borders in January 2020, confined foreign diplomats and staff of worldwide organizations to Pyongyang and made it increasingly hard to rotate personnel in and out of the country.

In the video, the group smiles and cheers as it crosses a bridge onto the Russian side of the border at Khasan, where the foreign ministry said the group was met by its representatives who were waiting with a bus.

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