Russia considers Kuril Islands issue closed: Senator

SAKHALIN REGION, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 8, 2018: An aerial image of Olya Bay and the island of Iturup in Russia’s Far East; Iturup is one of the southern Kurile Islands, which are claimed by Japan. Sergei Krasnoukhov/TASS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Jul 26, 2021, TASS. Japan must understand that Russia considers the issue of the Kuril Islands closed and come to grips that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is visiting Russian territory, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s (upper house of parliament) Committee on Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dzhabarov told TASS on Monday.

Earlier, the Japanese Foreign Ministry summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin to express protest over Mishustin’s visit to the Iturup Island.

“Our Prime Minister is traveling across Russian territory that is inalienable from Russia in accordance with the Constitution. He did everything in accordance with the Constitution, and we do not need another country’s permission or notice to visit our territory. I think the Japanese should have a calmer view on this. They must understand that Russia considers the matter with the islands closed,” Dzhabarov emphasized.

He pointed out that Russia had repeatedly called on the Japanese for economic cooperation on the island, and Moscow is interested in that. “This would benefit both Japan and Russia. This would be better than trying to make the islands part of Japan so that American bases might appear there the next day. The Japanese have never hidden that. They are under the US ‘missile umbrella,’ and these islands would have been handed over for the deployment of US bases. “This matter is not under discussion for Russia,” he reiterated.

On Monday, Mishustin began a working visit to Russia’s Far East and Siberia. His trip started with a visit to Iturup, which forms part of the Kuril Islands.

Peace treaty

For decades, Moscow and Tokyo have been holding consultations in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up in the wake of the end of World War II. The southern Kuril Islands issue remains the key sticking point. In 1945, the whole archipelago was handed over to the Soviet Union. Tokyo laid claims to Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and a group of uninhabited islands. Tokyo often lodges protests over Russia’s activity in the southern Kurils, which Moscow steadily rejects. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that Moscow’s sovereignty over the islands is enshrined in international law and cannot be called into question.

Mishustin’s predecessor Dmitry Medvedev visited the Kuril Islands several times while serving as prime minister and president. Medvedev visited the Kuril Islands for the first time in 2010. Before that, top Russian officials had never visited the islands.

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