Speaking on the program “Saturday news with Sergey Brilev” on Russia 1 TV channel, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is not going to hand over the South Kuril Islands to Japan.
Answering the question of the host, whether it would be necessary to lower the Russian flag that is raised in the South Kurils, President Putin said that "we do not have such plans," reports Interfax news agency.
The USSR annexed the South Kurils in the end of the World War II. According to the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, the Soviet Union promised to return Shikotan and Habomai Islands after the peace treaty between the countries is concluded.
In 2019, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that the requirement to return the Southern Kuril Islands to Japan is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe offered to sign a peace treaty with Russia in exchange for returning two Islands to his country instead of four — Shikotan and the Habomai Islands.