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    Russian Flag to Continue Flying Over Kuril Islands Despite Japan's Territorial Claims - Putin

    © Sputnik / Sergey Krivosheyev
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    PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKIY (Sputnik) - Russia is not planning to lower its flag flying over the Kuril Islands despite the territorial claims of Japan, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

    "No. We do not have such plans", the Russian president stated, stressing that Russia won't lower its flag.

    Putin said on Thursday, answering journalists' questions after the "Direct Line" Q&A session, that he expected to continue dialogue with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, including on the issue of a peace treaty, at the upcoming bilateral meeting later this month.

    In January, Russia and Japan launched full-scale talks aimed at signing a peace agreement. The negotiations are also being held at the highest level. Putin and Abe slated to meet during the G20 summit in Japan's Osaka next week.

    Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations have never signed a permanent WWII peace treaty. The main issue holding the two countries back is their dispute over a group of four Kuril islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. The territories are governed by Russia, which considers the islands an integral part of its territory. Japan also claims sovereignty over the archipelago, calling it the Northern Territories.

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    Vladimir Putin, Kuril Islands, Japan, Russia
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