MOSCOW, August 21. /ITAR-TASS/. A well-informed source at the Russian General Staff has denied forcing a Japanese submarine out of the border area in the Sea of Japan on Wednesday.
"The Japanese submarine detected in the La Perouse Strait on Wednesday did not violate international law and did not cross the Russian state border," the source told ITAR-TASS Thursday. "The submarine moving into the strait was a usual thing, and nobody forced it out of border water area," the source said.
The statement came in the wake of media reports saying that the anti-submarine forces of the Russian Pacific Fleet had cut short reconnaissance operations conducted by the Oyashio submarine in the border area in the Sea of Japan.
"The Japanese submarine was at an equal distance both from the Japanese and the Russian coast," the source said, showing the position of the Japanese submarine on a map of the region. "Tokyo's submarines often visit the La Perouse Strait, but until now such incidents never drew such a close attention of the press," it said.
"Reconnaissance activity in the northern part of the Sea of Japan is a routine job practiced by Tokyo in the north of the Sea of Japan, similar to Moscow, which does the same in the south of the Sea of Okhotsk," the source said. "No one has forced anyone out of the border area. Usually, when a submarine is detected, its hydro-acoustic system signals that it has been detected, and then the submarine moves back to its coast. Our submarine crews do the same," the source said.
It was a second foreign submarine detected by the Russian Navy in the border area over the past two weeks. On August 7, another submarine, presumably a multi-purpose US submarine of "Virginia" class, was spotted in the Barents Sea.