- The ministry said in a statement that this move comes a year after Russia set up the Bastion systems on the island of Matua in the middle of the Kuril ridge.
- The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said that Moscow's military buildup on the Kuril Islands "has largely flown under the radar" because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said that mobile coastal defence missile systems have been set up on a northern Kuril island. This island is part of a strategically important chain of islands between Japan and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula.
Japan claims the southern Kuril islands that are held by Russia, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories. This is a territorial dispute that goes back to the end of World War II, when Soviet troops took the islands from Japan.
The Russian defence ministry said on Monday that the Bastion systems, which have missiles that can fly up to 500 km, have been put in place on the island of Paramushir.
“Coastal service members of the Pacific Fleet will keep a watchful eye on the nearby water area and strait zones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” it said.
The ministry said that a military camp was set up on Paramushir with places for people to sleep, eat, play, and do other things all year long.
The ministry said in a statement that this move comes a year after Russia set up the Bastion systems on the island of Matua in the middle of the Kuril ridge.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that the government will closely watch the Russian military activity. He also said that it has been getting worse in the far east in line with Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The invasion is called a “special operation” by Russia.
In a September report, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said that Moscow’s military buildup on the Kuril Islands “has largely flown under the radar” because of the invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia’s steps to increase its presence suggest that the islands will continue to play a negative role in the future of Russo-Japanese relations,” the report, which was posted on the center’s website, said. It also said that Japan and the United States should talk more about what Russia is doing in the area.
After Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine in what Moscow calls a “special military operation,” Japan joined its Western allies in putting economic sanctions on Russia. Ukraine and its friends say that Russia started a war without any reason.
Because Japan put sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, Russia stopped negotiating a peace treaty with Japan and froze joint economic projects related to the disputed Kuril Islands.