Russia deploys S-300 missile systems to Kuril Islands
As part of the exercise, the anti-aircraft missile unit of the Eastern Military District, equipped with the latest S-300V4 missile system, will be deployed to the Kuril Islands, announced the press service of the Eastern Military District.
"The anti-aircraft missile division of the Eastern Military District stationed in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast began the exercise to relocate one of its units over a long distance," the district's press service said.
As part of the exercise, the unit will be transported by rail and sea. After that, the unit will begin deployment on one of the islands of the Kuril ridge and practice countering an enemy’s subversive group.
According to the press service, the main goal of the exercise will be to train personnel to perform tasks on unfamiliar terrain in the island zone of the Eastern Military District.
Last September, Russia completed equipping the newly formed 38th Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade of the Eastern Military District with the S-300V4 anti-aircraft missile systems. The new military unit of the brigade is stationed in the village of Ptichnik, Birobidzhan region, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
In 2016, Russia announced that it would be deploying Bal and Bastion coastal missile in the Kuril Islands to ensure control of the waterways, which provide entry from the Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Okhotsk. The islands’ air defense is currency ensured by Buk-M1 medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems and Su-35S fighters from the Eastern Military District.
During 2020, American strategic bombers B-1B and B-52H flew to the Sea of Okhotsk several times through the Kuril straits, without violating Russian borders. They were escorted by Russian Su-35S fighters.
The dispute over the four Kuril Islands, which Tokyo considers its “northern territories,” complicates relations between Russia and Japan. Moscow claims that the islands became part of the Soviet Union following the Second World War and that Russian sovereignty over them is not subject to revision. Tokyo insists that the islands are Japanese territories.
Japan does not recognize Russia’s ownership of the Iturup, Kunashir and Habomai Islands. They were annexed by Russia during World War II. Russia and Japan still have not signed the peace treaty because of the sovereignty dispute over the Islands.
In November, 2018, after the meeting between Abe and Putin, Japan announced that it was ready to adhere to the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. According to this Declaration, the USSR agreed to hand over the Habomai and Shikotan Islands to Japan after the peace treaty between the two countries is signed.