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Russia Deploys Missile Defense System to Japan-Claimed Island

The Russian Pacific Fleet has revealed that its Bastion coastal anti-ship missile systems have been deployed on the Kuril Islands, a Pacific territory also claimed by Japan.

According to the fleet’s press service, the weapon systems will conduct round-the-clock monitoring of the area, potentially engaging enemy surface ships at a range of up to 450 kilometers (279 miles).

The Bastion uses solid-fuel rocket boosters for acceleration and a liquid-fuel ramjet for sustained supersonic cruise. It can reportedly carry nuclear or conventional warheads that weigh around 200 to 250 kilograms (440 to 551 pounds).

Additionally, the system utilizes satellite guidance in initial missile flight and active radar guidance when approaching a target. It also features Russian sea-skimming cruise missile technology, allowing it to travel at supersonic speed.

In 2016, Russia deployed Bastion systems and Bal coastal defense missile systems on the Kuril chain’s disputed Iturup and Kunashir islands. The country sent more advanced air defense missile systems to the volcanic islands in the following years and set up an airbase.

Additional Deployments

In addition to the Bastion missile system, the Russian military has built an “autonomous military town” on the island to provide operational maintenance for the weapon system.

The Interfax news agency revealed that the country has installed technical posts, built storage facilities, and prepared launch sites on the island to support Bastion operators.

“An autonomous military camp has been organized on the territory of the island by the forces of the fleet’s logistics support units where the work has been completed on the improvement of premises intended for year-round service and accommodation of personnel,” the Russian defense ministry said, as quoted by Anadolu Agency.

Russia has maintained control over the Kuril Islands despite Japan’s claim that it has territorial rights to the four southernmost islands of the Kuril chain, which the Asian nation calls “Northern Territories.”

Both countries have yet to sign a peace accord to resolve the territorial issue due to Russia’s increased military activities on the disputed islands.

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