Russia has begun military exercises on a chain of islands disputed with Japan. It said the firing drills on what Moscow calls the Kuril islands, and Japan regards as its Northern Territories, will last until August 10th. The Russian Defense Ministry says the six-day military exercises which started on Monday on the island of Kanesha are regular military drills, but Japan has voiced this opposition to them. Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands which are currently controlled by Russia. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to the island of Europe on August 2nd widening the rift between the two nations.