Putin vows to defend Russia’s claim to disputed Kuril Islands northeast of Japan

Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged on Sunday to protect areas deemed to be of Russian national interest, including the Kuril Strait, a disputed territory claimed by Japan.

Putin made this remark at a Navy Day celebration in St. Petersburg, where he signed a presidential decree approving the new maritime doctrine.

In his speech, Putin identified the Arctic, Black, Okhotsk, Baring, Baltic and Kurile Straits as “economically important” and “strategic” for Russia and will use all means to protect them. I swore I would. Kremlin report.

“We will use all available tools to ensure their protection rigorously,” he said.

Putin said that the Russian Navy is not only “capable of immediate response” to those who choose to influence Russia’s sovereignty and freedom, but also carries out its strategic missions “at every latitude in the world’s oceans.” He said it can be done.

“Its coastal, surface, air, underwater forces and other means are highly prepared for decisive action. They are constantly being improved,” he added.

Putin also pledged that the Russian Navy will receive the Zircon hypersonic missile system in the coming months, with the Admiral Gorshkov frigate being the first ship to carry the weapon.

Putin said the location would depend on “the interest of ensuring Russia’s security”.

Known as the Northern Territories of Japan, the Kuril Islands consist of four islands: Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and Habomai. Japan claims the islands as its own territory.

Japan and Russia failed to sign a peace treaty due to disagreements over the Kuril Islands, which the former Soviet Union had taken over after World War II.

Russia suspends peace treaty negotiations

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the four islands “have never been owned by a foreign country” and had been under illegal occupation by Russia and the former Soviet Union since 1945.

Japan has started peace treaty negotiations with Russia “based on the basic policy of resolving the issue,” the foreign ministry said.

Moscow then suspended negotiations with Japan in light of a series of sanctions imposed by Tokyo on Russian leaders and financial institutions over the war in Ukraine.

Russia’s foreign ministry said of this basic document on bilateral relations that it was “impossible to discuss with a state that maintains a clearly unfriendly position and seeks to harm Russia’s interests”. said.

Prime Minister of Japan
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on October 14, 2021. (Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo)

In response, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida criticized Russia’s decision as “extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable”, arguing that the sanctions were a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

Kishida said Japan’s goal of concluding a peace treaty with Russia remained unchanged, but added that Japan needed to “resolutely continue to impose sanctions on Russia” in cooperation with the international community.

Russia has stepped up its military exercises in waters near Japan, and on March 17, four Russian amphibious ships were spotted near northeastern Japan. On her March 29th, Japan lodged a protest against Russian military exercises involving her more than 3,000 troops in the Kurile Islands.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

Aldogra Fredry


Aldgra Fredly is a Malaysia-based freelance writer covering Asia Pacific news for The Epoch Times.