Russia denies violation of Japan's airspace

Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's Defense Ministry has rejected a claim by Japan that two Russian fighter jets have violated its airspace.

The Japanese Defense Ministry says the two Su-27 fighter jets intruded Japan's airspace for just over a minute Thursday off the northwestern tip of the island of Hokkaido. Tokyo lodged a protest.

In Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a statement denying any intrusion. It said Russian military aircraft taking part in Thursday's military exercise in the area flew in "strict conformity with international rules without any border violations."

The incident coincided with a rally sponsored by the Japanese government that urged Moscow to return a group of disputed islands off Hokkaido's eastern coast that were seized by the Soviet Union in the final days of World War II.

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