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Russian diplomats forced to use hand-pushed railway cart to return from North Korea

COVID’s restrictions have forced diplomats to find an unorthodox way home.

This is not your standard diplomatic transport.

A video released by Russia̵

7;s foreign ministry on Thursday shows diplomats pushing a handcart lined up with their suitcases onto a railroad track through a barren landscape near North Korea’s northern border.

The ministry said the group worked at its embassy in Pyongyang and was forced to improvise because travel links between the two countries had been severed for more than a year.

“Since the borders have been closed for more than a year and passenger communication has been suspended, we had to go home on a long and difficult journey,” the ministry said in a post on social media, accompanied by a hashtag in Russian: “No one is left After yourself.”

The group of eight embassy staff and members of their families, including children, first took a 32-hour train and then a bus to reach the border area, the ministry said, where the cart was prepared and installed on the tracks. Diplomats pushed the handcart more than a mile to get it across the border.

In the video, the group smiles and greets as they cross a bridge on the Russian side of the border at Hassan, where the foreign ministry says the group is greeted by its representatives waiting by bus. The group was then taken another 160 miles to Vladivostok airport.

The Russian ministry said one of the diplomats, Vladislav Sorokin, was secretary of the embassy.

North Korea closed its borders for international travel last January. The party insists there are no cases of COVID-19, a claim that many experts doubt.

Many countries struggled to repatriate their citizens, as well as their diplomats, during the pandemic, as international air travel was closed and countries closed their borders. The US State Department said in April last year that it had evacuated 6,000 diplomats from around the world with the spread of the pandemic, an unprecedented number.

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