Stars and Stripes quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Senior Fellow Robert Manning on Russian involvement in the north Pacific Ocean:
Robert Manning, a senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and its Strategic Foresight Initiative at the Atlantic Council, agreed.
“I suspect Moscow wanted to make a statement that they are a force in the Pacific, and in part, a demonstration of a revived Russian military,” he said. “Certainly, Putin was not happy with Japan lining up with its G-7 partners on the Ukraine and imposing sanctions. That may have been a factor.”
“From memories of Soviet treatment at the end of World War II, Japan’s role in bottling up [Soviet] forces in the Sea of Ohkhotsk during the Cold War, to the dispute over the Northern Territories, Japan has long been somewhat wary of Moscow,” Manning said.
Japan would also like to see more exported Russian gas, especially with the shutdown of its nuclear plants, according to Manning.
Japan’s support of sanctions has complicated the situation. Experts think Abe had unrealistic expectations about Putin.
“The military actions were curious because Abe has had hopes of cutting a deal on the Northern Territories with Putin when the Russian president was to visit Japan in the fall,” Manning said. “Putin is not in a mode to give back Russian real estate to anyone.”