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Ukraine declares Kuril Islands Russian-occupied Japanese territory
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree, which declares the Kuril Islands to be Japanese territory, currently under Russian occupation.
“Ukraine affirms its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Japan, including its Northern territories, which continue to be occupied by the Russian Federation,” the document said.
Zelensky instructed the Ukrainian government to proceed from the position that Japan’s Northern territories are integral to Japan and its “sovereign territory.”
In a video address published on October 7, Volodymyr Zelensky called this decision “just, legally unimpeachable, and historic.” The Ukrainian president called on other world countries to take a similar stand with regard to the Kuril Islands.
The Soviet Union annexed the Southern Kuril Islands as a result of World War II. In 1956, the USSR signed a declaration of peace with Japan, promising to return the islands of Shikotan and Habomai once a peace treaty was signed. Japan then tried to insist on the islands’ return, while the treaty itself was never signed.
In March 2022, Russia stopped negotiating a peace treaty with Japan. In April, Japan’s Foreign Ministry called the Kuril Islands “unlawfully occupied” territory, for the first time since 2003.
Earlier, General Rustam Muradov, who made his name in Chechnya and Syria, was appointed commander of the Eastern military district, headquartered in Khabarovsk. The district consists of four military units — the Far-Eastern military district, the Pacific fleet, the eastern part of the Siberian military district, and the air-force and air defense command.
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