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Russia to deploy new weapons on disputed Kuril Islands

Russian Defence Minister said on Friday that the country will deploy some of its newest missile defense systems and drones on the disputed Kuril Islands this year
Russia to deploy new weapons on disputed Kuril Islands

On March 25, the Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the newest missile defense systems and drones will be deployed on the Kurils where Moscow and Tokyo have rival territorial claims, Reuters reports.

The dispute over the islands, known as the Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, has strained relations between the two countries since WWII, when Soviet forces occupied four islands at the southern end of the chain.

The dispute is so acrimonious that Moscow and Tokyo have still not signed a formal peace treaty.

The new weapons were part of a drive to rearm military units already deployed in the Kurils, Shoigu said on state TV.

“Coastal missile systems Bal and Bastion and new generation Eleron 3 drones will be deployed there this year,” he told a meeting at the Defence Ministry.

The Bastion is a mobile defense system armed with two anti-ship missiles with a range of up to 300 km (188 miles). It has also been deployed in Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. The Bal anti-ship missile has a similar range.

Shoigu announced in October that Russia would build a military base on the Kuril Islands.