National / Politics

Russia begins military drill on disputed islands off Hokkaido


The Russian military on Tuesday launched an exercise on Etorofu and Kunashiri, two of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan, according to the Interfax news agency.

Some 500 troops from machine gun and artillery units participated in the drill, which included practicing how to prevent an enemy force from landing, the Russian news agency said.

The exercise involved various types of military equipment, including T-72 tanks and mortars.

Moscow is strengthening its military capabilities on the four disputed islands, treating them as a major military foothold in Russia’s Far East.

Last week, Russian authorities said 350 troops took part in a drill on the Kuril Islands, which comprise an island chain called Chishima in Japan, and the four disputed islands.

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