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Russia launches drill in a disputed islands chain


08-12-2014 19:25 BJT

Russia has begun military exercises in a chain of islands it claims in the Pacific Ocean. That’s likely to anger Japan, which also claims the islands as part of its territory. 

Russian Defence Ministry told the Interfax news agency that the drill in the Kurile Islands involves more than 1,000 troops, five attack helicopters and 100 other pieces of military hardware. 

The island dispute has strained relations between Japan and Russia since World War Two, when Soviet forces occupied the four islands at the southern end of the Kurile chain. Japan says the islands are part of its territory and wants Russia to hand them over. 

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