Russia conducts military exercises on the Kuril Islands claimed by Japan
In what is believed to be a dire warning to Japan, Russia announced on Friday that it was conducting military exercises on the Kuril Islands just days after pulling out of World War II peace treaty negotiations in response to Tokyo’s position on the Ukrainian war. Moscow claims sovereignty over the Southern Kuril Islands known in Japan as the “Northern Territories” and the two nations have disputed the island chain for 70 years, dating back to World War II. The Kuril Islands are administered by Russia, but Tokyo says the sovereignty of the Northern Territories captured by Soviet troops during World War II has never been questionable.
The four disputed islands have been part of Japan since the early 19th century, backed Tokyo and ridiculed Russia for halting joint economic projects in relation to the islands.
Russia’s Eastern Military District said on Friday it was carrying out military exercises on the archipelago that separates the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean with more than 3,000 soldiers and dozens of military equipment, the State reported. Russian news agency Interfax. The southernmost islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai lie a few miles off the northern coast of Hokkaido, Japan’s main island, and were captured by the Soviet Union army in 1945. Tokyo s surrendered to the Soviet Union during WWII.
Russia and Japan have still not formally ended World War II hostilities over the island dispute. Japan attempted to retake the island which is currently under Russian jurisdiction. He argues that the expansion was unconstitutional and demands their return, while Russia claims it was a legitimate consequence of the war.
“Our country’s sovereignty covers the Northern Territories,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has repeatedly told parliament since his election, adding that he would resolve the disputed island issue with Russia “very soon.” according to Kyoto.
“The sovereignty of our country extends to the Northern Territories [Southern Kuril Islands]. The government has not changed its position on this issue. The purpose of the negotiations on the conclusion of the peace treaty [with Russia] is the question of ownership of the four islands. This is Japan’s constant position,” the Japanese prime minister told parliament.
Russia “does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan…”, according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Russia also unilaterally withdrew from World War II peace treaty talks with Japan and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands because of its coordinated Western sanctions against Moscow. “Under current conditions, Russia does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace treaty,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. In a shocking announcement, Russian Security Council Vice President Dmitry Medvedev said Japan and Moscow would never reach consensus on the Kuril Islands. Medvedev called the suspension of dialogue with Japan “historically justified, outdated and right” on his Telegram channel.
Just last week, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi called the Kuril Islands part of the country, not Russia. During a debate in the National Diet (Parliament), he referred to the area as the original territories of Japan. Saying Japan’s position on the long-disputed territory remains unchanged, the minister said the islands are “predominantly Japanese”.