VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA – The Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet has deployed state-of-the-art anti-ship missile systems on two of the islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan, the fleet’s newspaper reported recently.
The Bastion missile system has been installed on Etorofu Island and the Bal system on Kunashiri Island, according to the report.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in March his country would deploy the surface-to-surface missiles systems on the islands before the end of the year.
The row over the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty following World War II.
The report comes as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday in Buenos Aires that signing the treaty will require a “relationship of trust” between himself and President Vladimir Putin.
A day earlier Putin poured cold water on Japanese hopes of quickly concluding a World War II peace treaty. Putin said such an agreement is “not an …