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Newsline: Russian ambassador urges Japan to avoid sanctions over Ukraine

Russia’s ambassador to Japan is urging the country’s leaders to reject proposals to sanction Moscow over its dispute with Ukraine, calling the possibility “counterproductive” to Japanese-Russian relations. Sanctions against Russia or the Russian leadership by Japan would “contradict” agreements between the two countries and harm their relationship, Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin told reporters Wednesday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. “I want to emphasize that we consider the statements from the Japanese government about so-called strong actions against Russia as counterproductive for the atmosphere of Russian-Japanese dialogue,” Galuzin said Wednesday. (https://www.stripes.com/theaters/asia_pacific/2022-02-02/russia-japan-sanctions-ukraine-invasion-putin-biden-kishida-4519975.html) Galuzin held a 1 ½ hour news conference to clarify Russia’s stance on the buildup of Russian troops along its shared border with Ukraine. Moscow has steadily massed military forces along the border since December, and the U.S. government now estimates 100,000 Russian troops are flanking the country on its north and west. Galuzin was critical of “strong actions” proposed by the Japanese government, referring to a Jan. 21 virtual meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. Biden and Kishida are “committed to work closely together to deter Russian aggression against Ukraine” and pledged “strong action” against Russia in the event of an attack on Ukraine, according to a readout of the meeting from the White House. A spokesperson from Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs was not immediately available Wednesday for comment.

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