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Russia breaks off WWII treaty talks with Japan after invasion sanctions

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Russia announced that it would stop negotiations with Japan regarding a post-World War II peace treaty in response to Tokyo’s recent sanctions against Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday the nation will not continue the talks, which have attempted to solve a decades-old territorial dispute over islands seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. It cited Japan’s “anti-Russia policy” and “openly unfriendly positions” for its decision to break off the talks. 

“The current situation has arisen completely as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and Russia’s response to try to shift this onto Japan-Russia relations is extremely unjustified and absolutely unacceptable,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said in response to the Russian announcement, as reported by The Washington Post.

The Russian Embassy in London, meanwhile, tweeted a photo of the islands after the announcement was made using their Russian names. Japan, which claims the islands despite Russia occupying them since 1956, calls them by different names.

Japan, a strong ally of the U.S. and a member of the Group of Seven countries, recently imposed sanctions on 76 individuals in Russia, seven banks and 12 other bodies. 

Japan was also one of the countries that revoked Russia’s “most favored” trade status. Japan’s defense ministry also released photos of Russian ships carrying military trucks sailing in waters close to its shores on March 17, according to Reuters.

And Japan pledged $100 million in aid to Ukraine and is accepting refugees.

Earlier this month, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson issued a warning to Japan that it on should not escalate tensions any further.

“The victorious outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War should be earnestly respected and upheld,” Zhao Lijian, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said. “The Japanese side should deeply reflect on history, draw lessons from the past, respect the security concerns of its Asian neighbors, stay committed to peaceful development, and do more things that benefit regional peace and stability instead of the opposite.”

As reported by the Post, Japan is concerned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could embolden China to become more assertive regarding their dispute with Taiwan.

Tags Japan Russia Russian invasion of Ukraine Ukraine World War II WWII

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