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Russia broke off talks to sign a formal World War Two peace treaty with Japan this week after Tokyo strongly condemned Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Radio Free Europe reported Tuesday.
Even though WWII ended more than seven decades ago, Russia – then part of the Soviet Union – and Japan still have yet to sign a peace agreement to formally end the conflict. One of the unresolved issues between the two countries remains competing claims over territorial rights to the Kuril Islands.
Soviet troops seized the islands in the final days of the war and expelled thousands of Japanese residents living there.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held 25 meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin between 2012 and 2020 in an effort to resolve the dispute. But the negotiations have made little progress, particularly after Russia introduced constitutional amendments that made it illegal to surrender any part of its territory, according to Bloomberg.
But following Russia’s incursion of Ukraine, Japan swiftly imposed sanctions on Russia and stripped Moscow of its most-favored-nation trade status.
Russian officials said Monday they canceled the talks, adding that Japan has taken “an openly hostile position and is striving to cause harm to the interests of our country.”
On Tuesday, Japan admonished Russia’s move as “extremely unjustifiable and absolutely unacceptable.”