Russia Warns America’s Closest Ally in Asia

( – Russia has warned the US and Japan that it will take retaliatory measures if it feels the allies threaten its far eastern coastal region. Russia and Japan are engaged in a long-running dispute over the Kuril Islands in the North Pacific, which both claim as their territory and which is close to where Japanese and American troops are conducting military exercises. Russian Ambassador Nikolay Nozdrev told reporters that his country “regularly warns Tokyo that, if such activity continues, we will be forced to take countersteps.”

Relations between Russia and Japan deteriorated further with Moscow’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent Japanese condemnation and sanctions. Moscow’s developing alliance with China has further alienated Tokyo – a long-term foe of Beijing.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also recently expressed unease about Russian President Vladimir Putin and his meetings with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Both the US and Japan believe Kim and Putin are exchanging military and technological favors, and a President Biden spokesperson said in January that he is “deeply concerned” by the “growing relationship” between the two American adversaries.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov added his voice to the growing unease between Russia and Japan and said US-Japanese naval exercises in the Pacific threaten Russian security, but he did not explain why. Like Nozdrev, he warned of “retaliatory measures.”

American and Japanese troops have been working together recently in the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan, home to a lengthy Russian shoreline. American spokespeople explained that this is nothing unusual as the two allies regularly conduct joint maneuvers in the area to “maintain stability” in the Indo-Pacific region.

To add to the tensions, Fumio Kishida recently announced an increase in his country’s support for Ukraine. He said Japan will provide food and medicine, as well as small drones and face masks. Reports state that Mr. Kishida has spoken to Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky four times this year.

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