Russian armed forces have started large-scale exercises on the Kuril Islands in the Far East, the Defense Ministry said Tuesday. ‘ Artillery, air forces, navy and border troops are involved in the drills, Alexander Gordeev, spokesman for the Eastern military district, told reporters.
“These are the planned exercises. One of its tasks is to conduct a training rescue operation for a ship in distress in Russian waters,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.
Gordeev did not specify whether or not the drills were conducted at the four South Kuril Islands disputed between Russia and Japan, neither did he elaborate the timeframe of the drills.
The island dispute, which has lingered since the end of World War II, has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty.
Japan refers to the disputed islands as the Northern Territories.