Russia beefs up military presence near Pacific islands claimed by Japan

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 04, 2021, 05:14 PM(IST)

Russia moves Bastion missile system to Matua, a deserted volcanic island near Pacific Photograph:( Agencies )

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After World War II, the  Soviet Union took control of the islands. Earlier, it was the home of a large Japanese base. It is now the focus of Russian efforts to boost military presence in the Pacific

For the first time, the Russian coastal defence missile systems have been dispatched near Pacific islands also claimed by Japan.

Russia moved the Bastion mobile defence system to Matua, a deserted volcanic island in the middle of the Kuril Island chain. Japan claims four of the southernmost islands.

Matua is an inhabited landmass near the centre of the Kuril Islands.

After World War II, the  Soviet Union took control of the islands. Earlier, it was the home of a large Japanese base. It is now the focus of Russian efforts to boost military presence in the Pacific.

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On Thursday, Russia's Defence Ministry released a video showing its massive missile carriers moving ashore from amphibious landing vessels and driving along the coast of the volcanic island to take firing positions as part of drills.

The ministry said the deployment involved setting up living quarters for personnel, hangars for the vehicles and other infrastructure, reports news agency AP.

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“The missile crews of the Pacific Fleet will be on round-the-clock watch on this remote island in the central part of the Kuril Ridge to control the adjacent water area and strait zones,” the Russian Eastern Military District said in a statement.

The Bastion is capable of hitting sea targets at a range of up to 500 kilometres.

In 2016, Russia stationed the Bal and the Bastion coastal defence missile systems on two of the four southernmost Kuril Islands.

In the following years, it followed up by sending top-of-the-line air defence missiles systems there and setting up an air base on the Iturup Island where fighter jets were deployed.

(With inputs from agencies)

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