Four Russian warships were spotted sailing through a narrow strait in northeastern Japan Wednesday, and photos of the ship show it is transporting combat vehicles and personnel, possibly heading to the conflict in Ukraine, the Japanese Defense Ministry said, as reported by Kyoto News today.
Four Russian military supply craft passed through the 25-mile-wide Tsugaru Strait between Japan’s main island of Honshu and its northernmost main island of Hokkaido the news service said. The strait is a key passage between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, warships are permitted passage through territorial waters under certain conditions.
The genesis of the transport convoy would be coastal city of Vladivostok, the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean, and the economic heartbeat of Russia’s Far East.
“Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force first spotted two Russian tank landing ships about 70 kilometers east-northeast of Shiriyazaki, Aomori Prefecture, at around 8 p.m. Tuesday, and two others about 220 km east-northeast of Shiriyazaki, at around 7 a.m. Wednesday,” the news agency said. The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force is the Japanese Navy.
A sign of the war’s widening global involvement was seen on Wednesday when A C-17 transport jet flew from the United States to Yokota Air Base near Tokyo to pick up a shipment of helmets and other nonlethal military gear donated by Japan to Ukraine. It was the first time an American aircraft has transported military gear from Japan to another country, as reported by Japan Times.
Japan renounced the right to take part in war after surrendering to the United States in World War II. It has strict guidelines that ban it from exporting weapons to conflict zones.