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Tokyo says would like to continue political dialogue with Moscow

April 30, 2014, 22:36 UTC+3 TOKYO

The Japanese government yesterday announced additional sanctions against Russia

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TOKYO, April 30 /ITAR-TASS/. Japan would like to continue political dialogue with the Russian Federation, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told Japanese journalists on Wednesday during his visit to Denmark.

“We would like to keep holding political dialogue with Russia in future,” Kishida said but refused to comment on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s reaction to the imposition of new sanctions against Russia by Japan on Tuesday.

The Japanese government yesterday announced additional sanctions against Russia over the situation around Ukraine, where the situation is far from stable after a coup occurred in the country in February. The sanctions envision suspension of entry visa issuance to 23 Russian officials and other persons. The list is to be made public later.

In response, the Russian Foreign Ministry called Tokyo’s decision on sanctions counterproductive and pledged it will not be left without a response.

“Tokyo’s decision to impose visa sanctions on a number of Russian nationals was perceived in Moscow with disappointment and will certainly not be left without a response,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in this connection.

“This clumsy step was apparently made under external pressure and goes out of line with Tokyo’s statements on the importance of development of the entire complex of relations with Russia,” Lukashevich said.

Meanwhile, Kishida today held phone talks with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, during which the sides agreed to overwhelmingly support the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), whose observers will monitor early presidential elections in Ukraine scheduled for May 25.

Western countries have imposed targeted sanctions on some Russian and Crimean officials following Crimea’s reunification with Russia in March. Moscow has also imposed some targeted sanctions in response.

The West has already expanded its punitive measures against Russia since they were first imposed and has threatened Russia with new economic sanctions unless Moscow changes its foreign policy. Moscow has said the language of sanctions is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect on Western nations.

The Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, a city with a special status on the Crimean Peninsula, where most residents are Russians, struck agreements to reunify with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

The developments followed the coup in Ukraine in February, when new people were propelled to power in the country amid deadly riots as President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns.

Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities. Russia does not accept the new Ukrainian leaders, who appear unable to restrain radicals and ultranationalists, either.

After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, which Kiev and Western countries do not recognize despite Russia’s repeated statements that the Crimean plebiscite conformed to the international law and the UN Charter and was in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, protests against the new Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions.

Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country’s federalization, took control of some government buildings.

Ukrainian parliament-appointed interim head of state Alexander Turchinov on April 15 announced the start of an antiterrorism operation in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, apparently designed to clamp down on federalization supporters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday dismissed claims that Russia was involved in the latest pro-federalization protests in Ukraine.

“People say our special forces are present there [in Ukraine], say we have sent instructors there. Let me say in all responsibility that there are no Russian instructors, special forces or troops of any kind there. We have no one there,” Putin said in the Belarusian capital Minsk, where he went for integration talks with the leaders of Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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