Russian fighter jets land on disputed island

Updated 2018-03-27 14:50:05 Xinhua

Two Russian Su-35s fighter jets for the first time landed in an airfield on Iturup (called as Etorofu by Japan), one of the four Pacific islands claimed by both Russia and Japan, during a training flight, the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.

The jets took off from Khabarovsk Territory in Russia's Far East, flew more than 2,000 km and returned to their home base after completing the training flight, the ministry said in a statement.

The exercises were conducted to improve flight training and pilots' skills in protecting air borders, it said.

They also involved servicemen of the motor rifle division which flew over a number of Kuril islands in helicopters and destroyed "a subversive-reconnaissance group of a conventional enemy" upon landing.

Su-35s is an improved version of Su-35 which is single-seat, twin engines, highly-maneuverable multipurpose aircraft and was first commissioned by the Russian Air Force in 2009.

Russia and Japan are involved in a territorial row over Iturup, which Japan calls Etorofu, and other three islands off Japan's northern prefecture of Hokkaido. The four islands that are under Russia's control are called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

The decades-old territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty and hindered diplomatic and trade relations between them.

Last month, Russia said it planned to station combat jets and civil aircraft on Iturup island, which incurred protests from Japan.

Russia and Japan have agreed on joint economic activities on the four islands, but nothing substantial has been achieved.

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