MOSCOW, Russia: The Russian government has issued a statement saying it disagreed with the comments of new Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida affirming Japan's sovereignty over a chain of islands it calls the "Northern Territories."
The Kremlin, which calls the islands the "Kurils," stated that they are part of Russia.
During a conference call with reporters, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said, "We do not agree with such a statement. This is Russian territory, and Russia has repeatedly reaffirmed its political will on different levels to continue dialogue with Japan to find solutions to sensitive issues."
The territorial dispute over the islands, which began when they were seized by the Soviet Union at the end of World War Two, has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty since 1945.