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Moscow Gives Names To Unnamed Kurile Islands

Russian authorities say they are naming two small, previously unnamed islands in the disputed Kuril island chain for a Soviet general and an academic.

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk district head Vasily Solomko said the islands will be named in honor of General Aleksei Gnechko, the commander of Kuril amphibious forces in 1945, and Sergei Kapitsa, a noted scholar and television host.

The two islands, some 100 square meters in size, are among the first of many unnamed islands in the chain to receive names.

Another "name-awarding" expedition is due to travel around the Kuriles in October.

The Kuril Islands were long considered part of Japan, but at the end of World War II, Soviet troops seized the entire chain.

Japan still claims it rightfully owns the four southern islands.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax Russia