Putin, Abe hold summit to break island impasse
Moscow: The leaders of Russia and Japan were meeting in Moscow for talks over a disputed island chain that has long prevented agreement on a peace treaty to formally end World War II.
But recent rhetoric has dampened hopes of a breakthrough.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit marks the 25th time he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met since 2013, a reflection of their efforts to build cooperation despite their territorial disagreement.
The Soviet army seized the four Kuril islands, between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean, in the last days of World War II.
Tokyo's refusal to recognise Moscow's sovereignty there has been a barrier to peace for more than seven decades.
Ahead of closed-door talks, Putin told Abe that diplomats on both sides have "worked a lot... on the issues surrounding the peace agreement," while Abe responded that he is interested in developing ties.
But despite their good personal rapport and a flurry of diplomacy since November, when the two leaders agreed to accelerate peace talks, recent statements from both capitals suggest a compromise is still far off.