Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has declared that all territorial disputes between Moscow and other countries, including Japan, as “over.”
Lavrov made the remarks, which could suggest Moscow will never discuss with Tokyo the issue of sovereignty over Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, during an interview Monday with the state-controlled Channel One television network.
The former Soviet Union seized four islands after Japan’s surrender in World War II, and disputes over their sovereignty have prevented Tokyo and Moscow from signing a postwar peace treaty.
“We don’t have any territorial rows with the NATO side,” Lavrov said, referring to a recent remark by President Vladimir Putin that Russia recognizes no territorial issues with any NATO member.
He continued, “Generally speaking, we don’t have territorial disputes with any countries, including Japan.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry released the video of the interview on its website.
In March 2022, Russia said it would suspend negotiations with Japan over matters related to realizing a peace treaty, including the issue of Kunashiri, Etorofu and Shikotan islands as well as the Habomai group of islets, after Tokyo imposed sanctions against Moscow in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
In an interview run by the Interfax news agency on Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said it was impossible to negotiate with Japan over matters related to friendly cooperation while Tokyo’s sanctions against Russia remained in place.
Source : Japan Times