Russia to resume direct passenger trains to North Korea in July, Interfax says

(Reuters) - Russia will resume direct passenger rail service with North Korea in July after a four-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the news agency Interfax reported on Wednesday.

Citing the governor of the Russian far eastern region of Primorsky Krai bordering North Korea, Oleg Kozhemyako, Interfax reported that the trains will run from the city of Vladivostok to the North Korean port of Rason.

"Having boarded in Vladivostok, (people) will come straight to the DPRK, enjoy the beauty, nature, culture there, get acquainted with the customs and traditions," the agency cited Kozhemyako as saying at the opening of a festival of goods in Vladivostok from North Korea.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Ukraine in 2022 and subsequent sanctions on Moscow by Kyiv's allies, Russia tilted toward Asia and Africa, seeking economic, security and diplomatic ties.

President Vladimir Putin visited North Korea last week for the first time since 2000, deepening Moscow's ties with Pyongyang and signing a bilateral deal that included a mutual defence pledge.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; editing by Miral Fahmy)