Video shows Russian diplomats pushing themselves out of North Korea on a railway trolley after COVID-19 restrictions blocked all other forms of travel

  • Russian diplomats left North Korea by railway trolley Thursday as there was no other transport out.
  • North Korea has strict measures at its border in an attempt to halt the spread of COVID-19.
  • The diplomats pushed the trolley over a railway bridge for around a half-mile to reach Russia.
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A group of Russian diplomats and their families left North Korea on a railway trolley on Thursday, after the country’s ultra-strict COVID-19 lockdown blocked all other routes out.

Images and video from the Russian Foreign Ministry show the embassy employees and their children whooping and waving as they moved the trolley loaded with luggage.

Here is footage posted to Twitter by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta:

North Korea closed its borders with Russia and China on January 22 last year as news of the then-mysterious virus emerged. Since then, the secretive nation has undertaken strict measures to try and prevent the spread of the virus over borders — including blocking international travel.

To leave, the embassy group traveled for 32 hours by train and two hours by bus to reach the border, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry Telegram post.

Then for the last stretch, they pushed themselves for a kilometer (0.6 miles) on the trolley, the ministry said.  

“To do this, you need to make a cart in advance, put it on the rails, place things on it, seat the children — and go,” read the ministry post. The post credited the embassy’s Third Secretary Vladislav Sorokin as the trolley’s “engine” — the person who pushed it.

The group crossed on the Druzhby (“Friendship”) Bridge over the Tumen river, where Russia and North Korea share a tiny 11-mile border. 

They were met on the Russian side by a bus to take them to Vladivostok airport, the ministry post said. 

North Korea has imposed severe restrictions at its border since January last year, halting foreign tourism, some international trade, and all civilian forms of transport in and out of the country. 

The state has been known to shoot people trying to cross the border without authorization, as the BBC and The Guardian have reported.

North Korea has reported no cases of the virus, and no deaths, and according to Wired, state media characterizes the state’s response as “flawless.” Analysts believe the true figures are suppressed, the magazine reported. 

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