Kremlin demands Google display annexed Crimea and Kuril Islands as part of Russia

The head of the State Duma Committee on Security and Anti-Corruption Vasily Piskarev demanded at a meeting with the heads of Google Corporation that the company display annexed Sevastopol, Crimea and the Kuril Islands as part of Russia in the Google Maps service, TASS reports with reference to the press service of the committee.

According to Piskarev, at a meeting with Google’s representatives in April, he pointed out “inconsistency with national legislation in identification of individual administrative-territorial units and territories” of Russia, such as Crimea, Sevastopol and the Kuril Islands, on Google Maps.

“The problem is still not solved. We insist on bringing the Russian version of Google Maps in line with Russian legislation and the Constitution of Russia,” Piskarev told Google’s representatives.

The meeting of the MPs of the lower house of parliament with representatives of Google was held on April 16. During the meeting, Russian MPs stated that on the Google Maps application, the islands of the Kuril Ridge are not displayed as Russian territory. As Piskarev said at the time, the company said that it was ready to display the Kuril Islands as part of Russia. The next meeting on this subject was scheduled for October-November of this year.

Japan does not recognize the Kuril Islands as part of Russia. In 1945, Soviet troops occupied four islands in the south of the Kuril Ridge – Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai, but in 1951 the Soviet Union refused to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty. As a result, the document did not contain a provision on the sovereignty of the USSR over these islands. Since then, Japan has sought to regain control over them and calls them its northern territories.

In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.

On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.

International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

(C)UAWIRE 2021

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