Japan responds to Russian anti ship missiles on disputed island

Japan has vowed to respond to Russia’s "significant" deployment of anti-ship missiles to disputed islands in the Pacific Ocean.

It comes as it emerged Russia is also planning to relaunch “nuclear trains,” a railroad-based weapons system that was used by the Soviet Union during the late 1980s.

Russia’s armed forces said this week that its state-of-the-art Bastion and Bal anti-ship missile systems had been put into operation on the Kuril islands, a desolate archipelago which was seized by the Soviet military at the end of the Second World War.

The seven-decade dispute over ownership of the islands has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty to formally end wartime hostilities.

Formidable obstacles remain in the path of any peace deal to the long-running dispute. Tokyo insists that sovereignty of the islands, known as the Northern Territories in Japan, must be resolved before a peace treaty can be concluded, while Moscow says the two issues are separate and that it occupied the islands legitimately in 1945.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said on Wednesday that Russia’s defense ministry had grounds for deploying the anti-ship missiles, but he did not give further details. Mr Peskov also said he did not believe their deployment would hinder peace efforts.

Bastion missiles have a range of up to 300km (188 miles) and have also been deployed by Russia in Crimea, which the Kremlin annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Bal anti-ship missiles have a similar range.

Amid mounting international tensions, news that Russia is also planning to relaunch “nuclear trains” has also raised alarm.

The Barguzin system consists of six Yars or Yars-M thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, their launchers and command units, concealed within train carriages.

The “nuclear trains” will travel around Russia to avoid detection by enemy satellites, and will be virtually indistinguishable from ordinary trains. They can travel up to 600 miles a day and are expected to enter service between 2018 and 2020.
Putin is a saber rattler, even if his sabers are a little rusty.  His use of the Russians' only aircraft carrier is something of an embarrassment.  The design of the ship is such that the planes cannot be fully fueled and have weapons fully loaded or the planes would crash after going off the ski jump launching ramp.  Some of its subs or rusting in port.  I suspect that modern satellites can also probably detect the "nuclear trains" movement.  I suspect the antiship missiles are not a match for the US Aegis anti-missile system.


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