Europe

Top official says Russia won't give up disputed islands

FILE - In this November 2005 file photo, a Russian border guards' tower is seen on Kunashir Island, one of the disputed Kuril Islands that are claimed by both Japan and Russia. The speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber said on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, that Moscow isn’t going to give up any of the disputed islands to Japan. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - In this November 2005 file photo, a Russian border guards' tower is seen on Kunashir Island, one of the disputed Kuril Islands that are claimed by both Japan and Russia. The speaker of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber said on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, that Moscow isn’t going to give up any of the disputed islands to Japan. (AP Photo, File)  (The Associated Press)

The speaker of the Russian parliament's upper chamber says Moscow isn't going to give up any of the disputed Pacific Ocean islands to Japan.

The disagreement over the southern Kurils, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities. The Japanese prime minister's two visits to Russia this year have led many to believe that both parties were pushing to end the dispute and that Russia may even be prepared to give up one or two islands to accommodate Japan.

Federation Council speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who is in Japan to lay the groundwork for President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit, told Russia news agencies Tuesday that Moscow is not considering giving up any of the islands.