August 6, 2019 / 4:09 PM / 19 days ago

Russia summons Japanese ambassador over disputed islands comments

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visits the Southern Kuril Island of Iturup, Russia August 2, 2019. Sputnik/Alexander Astafyev/Pool via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it had summoned the Japanese ambassador in Moscow to complain about what it said was criticism from Tokyo that bordered on “an attempt to interfere in Russia’s domestic affairs.”

Tokyo earlier this month called a visit by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to one of four islands claimed by both Japan and Russia extremely regrettable and urged Moscow to take constructive steps to advance ties.

Japan claims the islands, which it calls the Northern Territories, while Russia, which controls them, calls them the Southern Kuriles.

The Russian foreign ministry said Japan’s comments about what it did on its sovereign territory were unacceptable.

It said it had also handed Japan’s ambassador a note of protest over what it said were violations of a visa-free exchange regime related to the disputed islands.

Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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