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The Kurile Islands (Kuriles) is a chain of islands that span from northeast to southwest in the North Pacific Ocean. At the northeast end is the Kuril Strait (Kurilsky Strait) and beyond Kamchatka. To the southwest is Hokkaido. To the west is the Sea of Okaotsk and to the east is the North Pacific Ocean. To the northeast is the Aleutian Islands. Known to the Japanese as Chishima-Rettō or Chishima Retto, meaning Thousand Islands Archipelago. In Russian known as the Kuril Islands. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of Japan. Between August 15, 1945 until December 26, 1991 part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, Soviet Union). Today located in Sakhalin Oblast in Russia.
Prewar and during World War II, the Kurile Islands were the northern most islands of Japan. As early as November 22, 1941 Japanese ships began assembling in the Kurlile Islands area, for the secret "Hawaiian Operation" to attack Pearl Harbor and Oahu.
During the Pacific War, Japan blocked the passage to the Sangar Strait from Soviet ships. Although Russia and Japan were not officially at war, the Soviet Union was receiving lend-lease from the United States.
During 1943-1945, Japanese fortified the Kurile Islands, and were the target of American attacks from bases in Alaska, in a strategic effort to tie down Japanese forces in the far north. The area was occupied by the Japanese until late August 1945.
On August 9, 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan begining the Soviet–Japanese War. On August 18, 1945 Soviet forces invaded the Kurile Islands landing on Shumshu Island. On August 21, 1945 a localized cease fire between the Soviets and the Japanese ended the fighting.
In 1951 under the terms of the San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan gave up sovereignty of the Kurile Islands to Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR, Soviet Union). Since 1991, located in Sakhalin Oblast in Russia.
Kurile Islands (Kuriles) Locations
Shumshu Island (Shimushu Island) located at the northeastern end of the Kurile Islands (Kuril).
Paramushir Strait located between Shumshu Island and Paramushir Island.
Paramushir Island (Paramushiro, Paramushiru) located at northeastern of Kuriles, southwest of Shumshu Island.
Shirinki Strait (Luzhin Strait) located to the west of Paramushir Island.
Shirinki Island (Antsiferov) located to the west of Paramushir Island.
Araido Island (Atlasov) located at the northeastern of Kuriles, southwest of Kamchatka.
Makanrushi Island (Makanru, Маканруши) located to the southwest of Paramushir Island.
Onekotan (Onnekotan, Онекотан) located to the southwest of Paramushir Island.
Kharimkotan Island (Harumukotan, Karinkotan) located to the southwest of Onekotan Island.
Ekarma Island (Ekaruma, Yekaruma) located to the southwest of Kharimkotan Island.
Shiashkotan Island (Shasukotan, Шиашкотан) located to the southwest of Kharimkotan.
Chirinkotan Island (Чиринкотан) located to the west of Ekarma Island.
Raykoke Island (Raykoke) island to the north of Matua.
Matua Island (Matsuwa, Матуа) located in the center of the Kurils with Matsuwa Airfield.
Rasshua Island (Rashuwa) located to the southwest of Matua.
Ushishiru Island located to the southwest of Matua.
Ketoy Island (Ketoi, Кетой) located to the southwest of Matua.
Simushir Island (Simusir, Shimushiru, Симушир) located to the southwest of Matua.
Broutona Island (Buroton, о.Броутона) located to the northeast of Urup, suspected seaplane base.
Chirpoy Island (Chyornie Bratya) larger island located to the northeast of Urup, Чёрные Братья.
Brat Chirpoyev (Chyornie Bratya) smaller island located to the northeast of Urup.
Urup Island (Uruppu, Уру́п) fourth largest island in the Kurile.
Iturup Island (Etorofu, Итуру́п and Oстров Итуру́п) large island includes Kasatka Bay (Hitokappu Bay).
Shikotan Island (Sikotan, Shpanberg, Шикотан) in the southwestern portion of the Kuriles.
Kunashir Island (Kunashiri, Kunasir, Кунаши́р) in the southwestern portion of the Kuriles near Hokkaido.
Habomai Island (Хабомаи) in the southwestern portion of the Kuriles near Hokkaido.
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