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Russia backs prime minister’s visit to Kuril Islands

Moscow, July 26 (Prensa Latina) Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said on Monday that Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is on a business tour of those regions of the country that he deems necessary, in support of his current visit to the Kuril Islands.

Mishustin’s stay on the island of Iturup, part of the Kuril archipelago, became the reason for an official protest by Japanese diplomatic authorities to the local Foreign Ministry’s office.

Peskov assured that the Russian prime minister’s trip is linked to promoting the development of those regions, including in cooperation with Japanese partners.

Mishustin began his work tour from Far East Russia and Siberia. His program began with a visit to the Iturup Island, as part of a plan for new initiatives to promote economic progress in those regions, TASS news agency reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recalled in recent days that Moscow has long been working with Japanese partners to create conditions for the islands’ development and promised new proposals involving Tokyo after Mishustin’s visit.

Moscow and Tokyo have been holding consults for decades to achieve a peace treaty on the sovereignty of the Kuril Islands.

After the end of World War II (1941-1945), the entire archipelago became part of the Soviet Union but, to this day, Japan still disputes ownership of the Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan islands and a group of small uninhabited adjacent islets.