“Exercises began involving military units in the region, which are deploying to the Kurile Islands," Col. Alexander Gordeyev, a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District, told the Russian news agency Interfax. Gordeyev said more than 1,000 troops, five Mi-8AMTSh attack helicopters and 100 other pieces of military hardware would be involved in the maneuvers.
A Japanese foreign ministry official said the ministry was checking whether the exercises were taking part on islands that Japan considers its territory. The islands are known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.
“If they are conducting a military exercise on the Northern Territories, we can by no means accept that in light of Japan's stance on the islands. We've already informed the Russian side of that stance and asked for clarification,” the official said.
Even NATO has expressed concern that Russia’s imperial ambition goes beyond Ukraine, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has opined.