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MOSCOW, September 3. /TASS/. An expedition linking Russia's Defense Ministry, the Russian Geographic Society and civilian World War Two enthusiasts has made its first find searching for remains of combat fallen.
Shumshu Island in the Far East maritime Kuril Islands chain has yielded its treasure - a Type 97 ShinHoTo Chi-Ha medium tank used by Japan in the conflict, Vladimir Popov, chief of the Defense Ministry War Casualties Commemoration Department, said on Thursday.
"The team continues its search on the island to reinter Soviet servicemen killed in action," he said. "It is also searching for fragments of WWII Soviet and Japanese tanks, planes and weapons used in the war, of historic value and fit for restoration." The tank has been prepared for shipping and loaded aboard a vessel.
Tents have been pitched near Kurbatov lighthouse for digs assembling around 70 people, more than 10 special vehicles, Mi-8 and Mi-26 helicopters and Pacific Fleet auxiliary vessels. Work on the island is due to last until September 24.
Russia's Defense Ministry sent its first team to Shumshu last September, when explorers found and reinterred the remains of Soviet troops. Those of Japanese soldiers were handed over to Japan.
Wartime military hardware found on the island at the time has been shipped to the Russian mainland and is being restored.