Moscow has broken off talks to formally end its WWII conflict with Tokyo, citing Japanese sanctions against Russia
An aerial view of South Kuril Islands and coastline in Kamchatka region, Russia. © Natalia Zakharova / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Russia has ended an arrangement dating back to 1991 that allowed Japanese citizens to visit the Kuril Islands without a visa, and has broken off talks with Japan on formally ending the Second World War, citing Tokyo’s “openly unfriendly” conduct in sanctioning Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine.
Due to the “obvious unfriendly nature of the unilateral restrictions imposed by Japan against Russia in connection with the situation in Ukraine,” the Foreign Ministry announced on Monday that it would “terminate” the visa-free regime and “does not intend to continue negotiations with Japan on a peace agreement.”
Russia also withdrew from talks on establishing joint economic activities with Japan in the Southern Kuril Islands, and will block Tokyo’s partner status in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization.
“All responsibility for the damage to Japan’s bilateral cooperation and interests lies with official Tokyo, which deliberately opted for an anti-Russian course instead of developing mutually beneficial cooperation and good neighborliness,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Japan joined the US-NATO economic embargo against Russia after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine last month. On March 16, it also revoked Russia’s “most favored nation” trade status.