Russia has fired missiles from its warships near Japan in a military show of strength after Tokyo claimed sovereignty over the disputed Kuril Islands.
The Kuril Islands were occupied by Stalin at the end of World War II – but Japan refused to accept Moscow’s jurisdiction.
Referring to the Southern Kurils by their Japanese name, the new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told parliament: “The sovereignty of our country extends to the northern regions.
“It is necessary to solve the issue of territories, not to leave it to the next generations.”
Video has surfaced of Russia’s Pacific Fleet unleashing its firepower in the Sea of Japan – a display seen by some as a “welcome message” to the new Japanese leader.
Others see it as Vladimir Putin sending a chilling warning to Tokyo following Kishida’s comments – and that it would risk drawing in the US and triggering World War 3 if Russia and Japan clashed.
Russia said the war games were “planned” by Admiral Tributes, the fleet’s flagship Varyag missile cruiser and anti-submarine destroyer.
The Fleet Press Office reported that they took out a battery on high-speed air targets from their Fort, Osa and Kinjal missile systems.
“A total of 10 missile launches were carried out as a practical measure,” a spokesman said.
A dozen warships and auxiliary vessels were involved in the exercise.
“During the missile firing exercise, Vairaag’s air defense team detected, intercepted and shot down a cruise missile,” the source said.
“Varyag and Admiral Tributes destroyed other targets using Osa and Kinjal air defense missile systems and artillery.”
The latest show of strength follows a Japanese diplomatic protest in June, when Putin conducted an exercise involving 10,000 soldiers, 500 military vehicles and 12 warships on the Kuril islands of Iturup, Kunashir as well as Russia’s largest island, Sakhalin. ordered.
Officially Japan and Russia still have not signed a peace treaty ending World War II because of the territorial dispute.
Kishida, who took office last week, told parliament he wanted to sign a “peace treaty with Russia”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been invited to visit Japan.
Lavrov said last week that Russia had a “constructive, clear relationship” with Japan, but the chances of him returning to the islands in Tokyo during Putin’s stay in the Kremlin are slim.
Meanwhile, Putin’s top weapons designers are developing a 4,000 mph hypersonic nuclear missile capable of turning a city anywhere on Earth to ashes in minutes.
Fifth generation fighter Su-57s will be nuclear fired and travel five times faster than sonic – making them nearly impossible to shoot down.
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