Russia Installs Defense Missiles in Disputed Kuril Island Chain

The Russian military said on Thursday it has deployed its third Bastion coastal defense missile system to the Island of Matua on the Kuril Islands, a Pacific chain also claimed by Japan. 

Russia’s defense ministry posted a video on Thursday showing huge missile carriers moving ashore from amphibious landing vessels and driving along the coast of the volcanic island.

The Pacific Fleet has erected an “autonomous military town” on the island to provide operational maintenance for the Bastion, within a range of up to 450 kilometers.

“Russia feels free to deploy in its territory those facilities it deems necessary and there where it finds appropriate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said

However, Peskov said that Russia also values bilateral relations with Japan. 

“We maintain the political will to continue a comprehensive dialog with our Japanese partners so that we find ways of settling this key problem,” Peskov said.

Japan has asserted territorial rights to the four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain, which lie north of Hokkaido and calls them Northern Territories. 

The Soviet Union seized the islands in the final days of World War II, and the dispute has prevented the countries from signing a formal peace treaty. 

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