Putin Flexes Military Might Ahead of China Visit, Stirs Controversy in Japan

Written by Henrik Rothen

May.11 - 2024 12:48 PM CET

Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
As Vladimir Putin prepares for a key diplomatic tour to China, his strategic military moves near Japan have sparked significant tensions.

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As Russian President Vladimir Putin gears up for his first international trip post-re-election to China this May, a series of calculated maneuvers have notably escalated tensions with neighboring Japan.

Russia's Military Moves Near Japan

According to reports from Sohu, a Chinese publication, Putin has seized this pre-trip period to assert Russia's stance towards Japan, an approach that comes at a time when Tokyo's own actions have been under scrutiny.

Japanese collaboration with the U.S. in military drills near Russian and Chinese borders, along with sanctions against Russia, have reportedly agitated Moscow.

This irritation manifested when Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu announced the installation of new radio-technical posts on the Kuril Islands—an area of longstanding dispute between Japan and Russia.

The military activity did not stop at surveillance upgrades.

The Russian Pacific Fleet took to the Sea of Japan, conducting missile exercises in the Gulf of Peter the Great—visible and provocative displays of military prowess, presumably as a direct message to Tokyo.

Japan's Reaction

These developments have drawn sharp criticism from Japan, whose government under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has repeatedly expressed its intent to reclaim the Kuril Islands.

Sohu's commentators suggest that Japan, historically responsive only to power, finds itself particularly wary of Russia, a nation instrumental in its WWII surrender alongside the United States.

Observers in China believe that Putin's actions signal a broader Russian strategy to strengthen its influence in the Far East and enhance its collaborations within Asia, asserting a stance that will not tolerate Japanese provocations.

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