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Russia's Medvedev Vows to Protect Disputed Islands

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks during a meeting with Russian Orthodox Church Hierarchs at Kremlin in Moscow, February 3, 2011

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says he will deploy sufficient weaponry to ensure the security of four disputed Pacific islands claimed by Russia and Japan.

Mr. Medvedev says the islands are an "inseparable" part of Russia.

The four islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II. The dispute over the island chain has prevented the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty for 65 years.

Earlier this week, Russia repeated its long-held position it will never relinquish control of the four islands in the northwest Pacific.

That Kremlin statement came after Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan promised his government would "tenaciously" pursue the return of the islands during a trip to Moscow later this week by Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara.

Mr. Kan said Japan will negotiate with Moscow to regain the islands and complete a post-World War II treaty. He also called Mr. Medvedev's visit to the islands in November an "unforgivable outrage."