Russia recently deployed its mobile coastal defense missile system on the Kuril Island of Paramushir amid tensions with Japan.

According to news reports, the K-300P Bastion-P (P stands for mobile) anti-ship missile system has stationed an additional battery in the northern part of the Kuril ridge alongside its Pacific Fleet near Japan.

“The Bastion coastal missile system combat units of the Pacific Fleet have been deployed and have taken up duty in the northern part of the Kuril ridge on Paramushir Island. Coastal missile men of the Pacific Fleet will keep a round-the-clock to control the adjacent water area and strait zones,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The operation and maintenance, technical posts equipment, material storage facilities, and entrances to the launching zones were all deployed on the island alongside active military personnel, who will also be conducting routine combat training exercises, the statement added.

The Russian defense missile system boasting a range of up to 500 miles, was previously deployed on the Kuril Island of Matua in December last year and was reportedly based in the Crimean Peninsula in 2015 after its successful annexation. The Bastion-P was then allegedly used to destroy land-based targets during the early months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine due to an “apparent shortage of land-attack missiles.” It served as the primary launch platform of the P-800 supersonic Oniks anti-ship cruise missile to bombard the cities in the southern part of Ukraine, including Sevastopol. Moreover, Russia has another system installed in the Arctic to protect its coastline, territorial waters, and mineral and energy resources.

Developed by NPO Mashinostroyeniya, the Bastion-P is primarily a coastal defense missile system that targets attack surface ships such as carrier battle groups, sea convoys, and landing aircraft. The coastal defense system, also known as SSC-5 or Stooge, entered the Russian armed forces in the 2010s with three initial units delivered and successfully used against ground-based radiocontrast targets during the Russian military intervention in Syria in 2016.

A typical Bastion-P battery consists of four mobile launchers (each operated by a three-person crew), one support vehicle, four transloader vehicles, and one or two command and control vehicles that can be stationed up to 25 kilometers away. It measures about 12.8 meters in length, 3 m in width, and 3.6 m in height, with a weight of 41 tons powered by a 500-horsepower YaMZ-846 diesel engine. It can accommodate either nuclear or conventional warheads with a weight of about 200-250 kg. So far, the Bastion-P has been utilizing a two-stage, solid-fuel Oniks missile that has a range of 300 km with high-altitude flight trajectory and 120 km with low-altitude flight trajectory, capable of accelerating up to Mach 2.2 through its liquid-fuel ramjet motor.

Initially, the Russian coastal missile system is capable of flying toward its target using an inertial navigation system (INS) supported by GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System)—a Russian satellite navigation system similar to the US GPS—before switching to active radar system guidance as they home in closer.

Aside from Russia, Syria, Indonesia, and Vietnam are also operators of the K-300P Bastion-P.

Never-Ending Tensions Between Russia and Japan

Russia and Japan have had a long, bitter territorial dispute history that one can trace back to the early 1900s. The fight for power and dominance in the region has been inevitable considering its physical proximity, in addition to Japan’s close ties with the United States and Russia’s partnership with China.

Despite several attempts to resolve the tension through bilateral negotiations, Moscow and Tokyo continue to become hostile, with the Kuril Islands dispute among the many issues at stake.

Kuril Islands is a chain of islands situated between Japan’s Hokkaido and the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and is composed of four islands that were unilaterally annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.

Russia’s K-300P Bastion-P Anti-Ship Missiles Used Against Ground Targets

Read Next: Russia’s K-300P Bastion-P Anti-Ship Missiles Used Against Ground Targets

Following the deployment of the Russian Bastion-P system announcement, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters that the government will closely monitor the Russian military activity in addition to its intensified monitoring after the latter’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Kuril island of Paramushir
Screenshot from Google Earth

The dispute in Kuril Island has appeared to be thrown “under the radar” following the invasion of Ukraine crisis. An article published by the American think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in September explained how Russia has been stepping up in boosting its presence on the island and how it will “continue to play a pernicious role in the future of Russo-Japanese relations.”

It then suggested that Japan and the US should deepen consultations regarding Russia’s activities in the region.

The peace treaty talks and partnership-related projects between Japan and Russia have been working on has once again been disrupted after Tokyo joined its Western allies in laying economic sanctions on Moscow for the invasion of Ukraine.