Russia intents to deploy a range of coastal missile systems on the far-eastern Kuril Islands, Russiam Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday.
This year Russia plans to deploy coastal missile systems and drones in the Kuril Islands, which are claimed by Japan, as part of its military build-up in the region.
“Military units in the Kuril islands are being rearmed in keeping with the original schedule. This year coastal missile systems Bal and Bastion and new generation drones Eleron-3 will be deployed there,” Shoigu told the Defense Ministry’s board meeting.
Russia has been investing in military infrastructure on the Kuril islands, which Japan considers its territory, over the last few years, including building new barracks for personnel.
Shoigu said at the meeting that the military is focusing on “developing military infrastructure in the Arctic and Kuril island zones.”
The minister stated that Russia plans to start a three-month expedition next month to explore the island led by the Russian Navy’s. The purpose of the expedition will be finding possibility of creating a Pacific Fleet base there.
“In April, Pacific Fleet specialists will begin a three-month reconnoitering mission on the Greater Kuril Ridge. Their main task will be to see if it will be possible to create a Pacific Fleet base on the islands,” Shoigu told the ministry board meeting.
The conflict with the status of the islands have strained the relationship between the two countries since World War II. After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union. Some 19,000 Russians live on the remote rocky islands, which were occupied by Soviet troops in the dying days of World War II.
During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian president Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have not reached a consensus, yet.
Written by Yoana for South Front