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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has voiced Moscow’s frustration at the ongoing Japan-U.S. defense drills.

Russia has no choice but to pay attention to the unprecedented scale of the Orient Shield 21 drills, Zakharova, head of the ministry’s information and press department, said in a statement on Saturday.

The exercises between Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Army started on June 24 in Japan.

Noting that part of the drills was conducted in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, which is close to Russia, Zakharova said that Moscow is examining the matter from the standpoint of security of Russia’s Far East borders.

Zakharova also expressed displeasure at Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi’s instructions of strengthening surveillance of northern areas during his visit to an Air SDF base in Hokkaido last Tuesday.

On the Japanese-proposed vision of realizing a free and open Indo-Pacific region, Zakharova said that Russia cannot remove the impression that it is intended to secure benefits for the Japan-U.S. alliance.

Japan has refrained from holding constructive dialogue and confidence-building talks with Russia in the field of security, Zakharova said, adding that Moscow will pay close attention to Japan’s moves and take appropriate response if needed.

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