North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Russia for a meeting with Vladimir Putin using a luxurious, heavily armored, slow-moving train painted in an olive shade of green.
Train tradition: Kim continues the tradition of predominantly traveling by rail, which was initiated by his grandfather Kim Il-sung, the founder of North Korea. He boarded the train on Sunday along with officials from Pyongyang’s arms industry, military officers and the country’s defense minister. Kim is expected to discuss Mocow’s need for more weapons to supply its war in Ukraine with Russian leaders.
Inside Kim’s train: Nicknamed the “Moving Fortress,” the bulletproof train is well-equipped with conference rooms, audience chambers, bedrooms, satellite phones and flat-screen televisions for briefings. It is said to offer a lavish interior with glossy white walls, long meeting tables and opulent red leather armchairs.
According to Independent, Kim’s train is believed to have around 90 railcars with armored Mercedes cars carried on some trips. Its modifications ensure a maximum speed of approximately 55 miles per hour, making it slower and less conspicuous than planes.
“Even if it is slow, train is safer and more comfortable than anything else for a North Korean leader,” Ahn Byung-min, a South Korean expert on North Korea transportation, said, according to Reuters.
Security measures: According to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, the train is “equipped with attack weapons and a helicopter for escape in case of emergency.”
Kim’s train security measures are also extensive, with about 100 security agents conducting sweeps at railway stations. Kim’s train reportedly travels alongside two other trains, one for security checks and another for bodyguards and personnel.
“Orient Express”: The train’s history of luxury and comfort was described in the book “Orient Express” by Russian official Konstantin Pulikovsky, who previously traveled with Kim Jong-il. The account mentioned a gourmet menu with a wide variety of international dishes, including Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and French cuisines. The menu also featured wines like Bordeaux and Burgundy as well as live lobsters. Entertainment on board included performances by young female singers referred to as “lady conductors.”
Kim has previously used trains for visits to China, Vietnam and Russia. His train journeys are often depicted in state propaganda as the leaders’ efforts to meet and connect with ordinary North Koreans across the country.