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International relations

Russia demands Japan first accept its sovereignty over islands

Officials launch peace talks ahead of Abe-Putin summit on Jan. 22

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, far left, and Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, far right, met in Moscow on Monday.    © Reuters

MOSCOW -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov insisted Monday that Tokyo first recognize Moscow's sovereignty over long-disputed islands in the inaugural talks with Japanese counterpart Taro Kono toward negotiating a peace treaty to officially end World War II.

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