Moscow Rejects Japan's Protests Over Military Deployment on Kuril Islands

© Sputnik / Sergey Krasnouhov / Go to the photo bankKuril Islands
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The Russian Foreign Ministry has slammed Tokyo's protest over firing exercises in the southern Kuril Islands, noting that such moves damage bilateral relations and hinder their development.

Moscow says it rejects Japanese protests over the country's military deployments on the disputed island territories.

Such moves damage bilateral ties, hinder their development, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

"We firmly reject such demarches, since Russia has the sovereign right to any activity on its territory, including measures to strengthen national defense. These actions are in no way directed against neighboring states and are exclusively an internal affair of our country," the statement says.

The ministry is convinced that any concerns that arise should not be removed with the help of "ritual protests", but through the existing mechanisms for bilateral dialogue on confidence-building measures in the field of security.

READ MORE: 6.3 Magnitude Quake Hits Off Russia's Kuril Islands — Reports

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Russia had notified the Japanese side about its plans to conduct firing drills in the disputed islands on October 10. Earlier in the day, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that Tokyo had lodged a strong protest against the drills through diplomatic channels.

The islands of Habomai, Shikotan, Iturup and Kunashir are claimed both by Russia and Japan and remain the subject of a long-standing dispute between the countries. It has prevented the two sides from signing a permanent peace treaty after World War II, despite the fact that over 70 years have passed since the end of the conflict.

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