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6 Sep, 2022 09:52

Russia showcases freshly-deployed anti-ship missiles (VIDEO) 

The Bastion systems were used to thwart a simulated amphibious assault on the Kuril Islands 

Russia’s Bastion anti-ship missile system has now been used in a live-fire exercise on the Far Eastern island of Matua, the Defense Ministry has reported. The system was tested during recent drills on an island chain that has long been the center of a territorial dispute with Japan.

Matua is part of the Kuril Archipelago, a group of islands stretching from Russia’s Kamchatka to the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Last December, the Russian Defense Ministry reported boosting anti-ship defenses in the area with Bastion launchers stationed on Matua. Tuesday’s training exercise was the first time they were reported to have been used.

According to the synopsis of the exercise released by the Defense Ministry, the launchers were moved into attack positions to fire at a simulated foreign warship that had violated Russian territorial waters in an attempt to land troops on one of the Kuril Islands. Once the ship moved “into a critical range,” it was engaged with an Oniks missile, which Bastion launchers carry.

The Matua drill was part of the multilateral Vostok 2022 strategic military exercise. Asian powerhouses India and China are among the participants of the Russia-hosted military maneuvers.

Japan contests Russian territorial claims to the four Kuril Islands that are located closest to its territory. The dispute, which stems from World War II, is the reason why Russia and Japan never signed a peace treaty. Moscow has previously ruled out relinquishing the islands to Japan, with one of the considerations being that Tokyo could militarize them. 

The long-running diplomatic spat was exacerbated this year after Japan joined the US in imposing anti-Russian sanctions over its operation in Ukraine. 

This week, Moscow scrapped a 1999 agreement with Tokyo that had allowed Japanese citizens to visit two of the disputed islands under a simplified procedure. The Russian Foreign Ministry also reported a full suspension of talks on the status of the islands and on projects to develop them economically together with Japan.