Russia on Monday warned Japan against supplying Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine, saying such a move would be seen as a hostile act and could have serious consequences for regional security.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” by media reports that Japan was considering providing Ukraine with Patriot systems, which are capable of intercepting ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as aircraft and drones.
The ministry said that such a step would be a “gross violation” of Japan’s obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, which guarantees Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in exchange for its renunciation of nuclear weapons.
The ministry also said that Japan’s possible provision of Patriot systems to Ukraine would contradict the spirit of the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, which normalized diplomatic relations between the two countries and laid the foundation for a peace treaty.
“Such actions by Japan would be perceived by Russia as a direct interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine and a hostile act aimed at undermining the efforts to resolve the crisis in the Donbass region by peaceful means,” the ministry said.
The ministry added that Japan’s involvement in the Ukrainian conflict would also damage the prospects of bilateral cooperation on various issues, including the disputed Kuril Islands, which Russia calls the Northern Territories.
“We strongly urge the Japanese side to refrain from any steps that could escalate the situation in Ukraine and the region as a whole, and to act in accordance with the principles of international law and common sense,” the ministry said.
Japan has not officially confirmed or denied the reports that it was planning to provide Ukraine with Patriot systems, but has expressed its support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its concern over Russia’s military buildup near its borders.
Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday that Japan was closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and was in close contact with its allies, including the United States and the European Union.
Matsuno also said that Japan was committed to resolving the issue of the Northern Territories through dialogue and negotiations with Russia, based on the 1956 declaration and other agreements.
Japan and Russia have never signed a formal peace treaty after World War Two due to their dispute over the four islands, which were seized by the Soviet Union in the final days of the war.
The reports of Japan’s possible provision of Patriot systems to Ukraine came amid growing international pressure on Russia to de-escalate the situation and resume dialogue with Ukraine and its Western backers.
The United States and its allies have accused Russia of preparing for a possible invasion of Ukraine, and have warned of severe sanctions and other measures if it does so. Russia has denied any such plans, and has blamed the West for provoking the crisis by supporting Ukraine’s government and providing it with military aid.