Report: Fighter jets deployed on Etorofu for trial
NHK -- Aug 05
A Russian media report says the country's air force has deployed fighter jets on a trial basis on one of the 4 Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

Sakhalin Info reported on Friday that the fighters were sent to Yasniy Airport on Etorofu Island.

Russia's Defense Ministry has yet to formally comment, but the report says this is the first step toward full-scale deployment.

A photo obtained by NHK shows at least 3 parked Su-35s.

Yasniy Airport was opened 4 years ago as a civilian airfield. But the Russian government decided in January this year to allow both military and civilian aircraft to use the facility.

In March, Russian fighters landed there during a training exercise.

The deployment of fighter jets to the airport is seen as part of an attempt by Russia to increase its military capability on the 4 islands.

Russia considers those islands and another nearby island chain to be military strategic points facing the Pacific Ocean.

Russia controls the 4 islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.

News source: NHK
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