Russian Warships Navigate Japanese Strait As They Halt Peace Treaty Talks
JAPAN - Russian warships were spotted going through the Japanese strait on March 15th and 16th, as the Kremlin has halted peace treaty talks with Japan after Japan placed heavy sanctions on Russia over the invasion on Ukraine.
Japan put out a statement regarding the Russian warships moving through its strait "totally unacceptable" as Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia and Japan "will never be able to reach a consensus regarding the Kuril Islands".
"Russia has refused to continue peace treaty talks with Japan. In the context of the Kuril Islands, this is a historically justified step that is long overdue and fair" Medvedev said.
Medvedev said that it was 'obvious' that Russia and Japan would 'never reach a consensus regarding the dispute' and that "Both sides knew it before. The negotiations regarding the Kurils have always had a ritual nature".
He also said that the Russian constitution "directly stipulates that the territories of our country are not subject to alienation" and said that it was a "closed issue".
Medvedev said that Japan wanted to act like "proud independent samurais" by imposing sanctions on Russia and said "The talks no longer make sense. And that's fine".
The Russian Foreign Ministry also announced that it would not be continuing joint economic activity on the disputed islands, which has been seen as Russia's response to sanctions placed upon it by Japan after the recent invasion of Ukraine.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that "Russia's actions are extremely unreasonable and totally unacceptable" and that they 'strongly protest'.
The Russian ministry put out a statement that was reported by Kyodo that halting the peace treaty negotiations was in response to Japan's unilateral and unfriendly restrictions over the situation in Ukraine.
The restrictions include about a dozen new sanctions on Russia in response to the country's invasion on Ukraine.
A number of Russian warships have been spotted in international waters near Japanese borders this month, including more recently four ships on March 15th and 16th that were spotted east-northeast of the main Japanese island of Honshu according to Japan's Joint Staff.
The Russian ships that were spotted included an Alligator IV-class tank landing ship, two Ropucha I-class tank landing ships and a Ropucha II-class tank landing ship according to the statement.
A Japanese surveillance plane and a destroyer monitored the Russian warships through the Tsugaru strait to the Sea of Japan the statement said and showed pictures of the ships which had been loaded with military vehicles.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno suggested that the ships could be transporting both soldiers and military vehicles to Ukraine.
"We are closely observing movements by Russian forces with grave concern, including the situation in Ukraine" he stated.