Japan’s “anti-Russian course” makes peace treaty talks “impossible”, a senior Russian foreign ministry official has been quoted as saying by the state-owned TASS news agency.

Russia and Japan have not formally ended World War Two hostilities because of their standoff over islands, seized by the Soviet Union at the end of the war,

just off Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido. The islands are known in Russia as the Kurils and in Japan as the Northern Territories.

“It is absolutely obvious that it is impossible to discuss the signing of such a document [a peace treaty] with a state that takes openly unfriendly positions

and allows itself direct threats against our country,” deputy foreign minister Andrei Rudenko told TASS.

Japan has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and has moved to reduce its reliance on Russian oil and coal exports in recent months.