April 23, 2015 / 11:17 AM / 5 years ago

Russia carries out military drills on disputed Kurile Islands

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has conducted military anti-landing drills in a Pacific island chain, parts of which are also claimed by Japan, Interfax news agency reported the Russian Defence Ministry as saying on Thursday.

“Units were scrambled as part of large-scale anti-landing drills ... (they) worked on coastal defense from possible sea or air attacks,” Interfax cited the press service for Russia’s Eastern Military District as saying.

Tokyo and Moscow have been involved in a decades-old dispute over islands north of Hokkaido, known as the Kuriles in Russia and referred to as the Northern Territories in Japan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week he was ready to discuss the issue but blamed Japan for a lack of dialogue.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has previously said that Russian military exercises on the islands are “totally unacceptable”.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Alexander Winning

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