Russia conducting drills on islands contested by Japan

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Russia has said it is conducting drills on islands that are contested by Japan, days after withdrawing from peace treaty negotiations in response to Tokyo’s decision to impose sanctions on Moscow for its ongoing invasion of Kiev, the BBC reported.

Four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and termed by the Japanese as the Northern Territories, are the subject of a more than 70-year-old dispute between the two nations.

Because of the dispute, Russia and Japan have not yet signed a post-World War II peace treaty, the BBC reported.

Earlier this week, Russia said it was withdrawing from negotiations with Japan aimed at signing that treaty, because of Tokyo’s tough stance against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

And now, Russia’s Eastern Military District says it will conduct military drills on the islands with more than 3,000 troops and hundreds of pieces of army equipment.

Japan had earlier condemned Russia for withdrawing from the peace talks and for halting joint economic projects in relation to the islands.

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s longest-serving post-war Prime Minister, has begun saying loudly and publicly that Japan should, indeed, think seriously and urgently about nuclear weapons, BBC reported.

It’s no coincidence this call-to-arms has come just as Russia has invaded Ukraine

Japanese law has explicitly banned any nuclear weapons from its soil since 1971.

But Abe is not alone in calling for that ban to now be debated.

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