Zelenskyy signs decree recognizing southern Kuril Islands as Japanese territories occupied by Russia

8 October 2022, 02:33 PM
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:Office of the President)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Photo:Office of the President)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Oct. 7 signed a decree recognizing that Russia is illegally occupying part of Japan's northern territories – namely the southern Kuril Islands.

In his evening address, the president of Ukraine said he had taken a "fair, legally irreproachable and historic" decision.

“Ukraine reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Japan, including its northern territories, which are still under Russian occupation,” the president said. “Today I signed the relevant decree. There is a statement from the Verkhovna Rada. And we call on everyone in the world to make similar decisions.”

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Zelenskyy added that the aggressor-country of Russia doesn't have the right to these territories, and “everyone in the world knows this very well." He also stressed that the aggressor must lose, and expressed the hope that justice would be restored for Ukraine's partners.

On Oct. 7, the Verkhovna Rada adopted an appeal to the international community regarding the northern territories of Japan, in which it recognized their occupation by Russia.

The appeal says that the Rada supports the position of Japan in relation to its northern territories, recognizes that they are under Russian occupation, and calls on the international community to take measures to "legally formalize the status of the northern territories of Japan."

People's deputies stated that the Soviet Union illegally occupied the northern territories of Japan in 1945 and until 1949 forcibly deported Japanese citizens from there.

On March 21, 2022, Russia withdrew from negotiations on a peace treaty with Japan and froze joint economic projects related to the Kuril Islands. The reason was the accession of Japan to the sanctions of the West because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

By March 26, Russia had begun to conduct military exercises on the islands.

On March 31, Japan officially named the Kuril Islands "ancestral territory" under illegal occupation.

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