The military exercises with the participation of the Pacific Fleet, Air Landing Troops and military aircrafts that started near the coast of the Kuril Islands on Tuesday caused a diplomatic row. Japan protested, considering large-scale military maneuvers in the area of the disputed territory to be unacceptable.
The extent of these exercises is unique - there have been no such exercises since 1984, as the experts interviewed by RBC say. According to the Ministry of Defense, the command and staff exercises which began on Tuesday are attended by military units stationed in the Kuril Islands, divisions of air assault union of Air Landing Troops of Primorsky Territory, Military Aviation and Operations Group of the Pacific Fleet. The events involved a total of more than one thousand soldiers, five Mi-8AMTSh helicopters, about 100 units of military and special equipment.
Military exercises of such extent are held near the coast of the Kuril Islands for the first time since 1984, the director of the Centre for Military Forecasting Anatoly Tsyganok says. An expert who taught anti-airborne defense at the Military Engineering Academy named after Kuibyshev notes that no such maneuvers with the use of naval forces, aviation, border troops and no landing operations in the Southern Kuril Islands were conducted in the post-Soviet history. “I do not remember the similar exercises to have ever been conducted” - the editor of the “National Defense” magazine, a member of the Public Council under the Ministry of Defense Igor Korochenko confirmed to RBC.
In his opinion, a maneuver of this kind is “the right decision” after Japan supported the policy of sanctions against Russia. The troopers on the Kuril Islands, according to the expert, are exercising counteracting possible aggression of Japan by “Falkland scenario”. The Jiji agency, citing the statement of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, announced on Tuesday that Japan considers Russian military exercises in the Kuril Islands unacceptable and intends to declare “strong protest” through diplomatic channels.
The head of the information and political department of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Alexander Khramchikhin told to RBC that Russian military exercises in the Kuril Islands are held regularly. Last major exercises were held in the archipelago in 2010 as part of the maneuvers “Vostok-2010”. Their extent was smaller than that of the current exercises, but they also caused protest from the Japanese side. Military maneuvers in the area of the disputed territory are irritating, as well as any actions of Russia in the Kuril Islands, the expert adds.
Author: Anna Dorozhkina