"You know, we are not talking on whether to transfer the islands or not. We are talking on very detailed work on the peace treaty with our Japanese partners. This is the issue on our agenda," the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said.
The comment was made after earlier in the day, the RBK news outlet reported citing sources that the Kremlin had decided against the possibility of transferring the Kuril Islands to Japan as part of a prospective peace treaty.
No decisions in this relation have been taken, Pekov specified and urged to critically assess all reports appearing on this topic in the media.
"Everyone is well aware of the sentiments the Russians have toward the islands. We all remember recent polls that are to be taken into account. But I repeat once again, the issue is not the transfer. The issue is drafting a peace treaty. And this is what we are negotiating," Peskov said.
During the peace treaty talks with his Japanese counterpart in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the sides had confirmed their willingness to work on the basis of the 1956 declaration, "which means, first of all, the inalterability of… Japan's complete recognition of… Russia's sovereignty over all the islands of the South Kuril ridge."