In the decree, Zelenskyy took into account a resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of 7 October, in which the Ukrainian parliament recognised these territories – the islands of the Kuril chain of Shikotan, Kunashir and Iturup, as well as the Habomai archipelago – as occupied by Russia.
The president decided that Ukraine "reaffirms its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Japan, including its Northern Territories, which continue to be under occupation of the Russian Federation".
He instructed the Cabinet of Ministers to base diplomatic relations with Japan from the stance that the Northern Territories are an integral part of Japan's sovereign territory.
In an evening speech on 7 October, Zelenskyy described this as legally flawless and fair. The text of the speech is published on the president's website.
"Ukraine has reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Japan, including its Northern Territories, which are still under Russian occupation. Today I signed a decree to this effect. There is a statement by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. And we call on everyone in the world to adopt similar decisions. Russia has no right to these territories. Everyone in the world knows it very well. And we must finally act. We must liberate all the lands that the occupiers are trying to keep under Russian occupation", – he said.
Zelenskyy believes this is the only way to "return the full force" of international law.
"The UN Charter and the entire set of treaties and conventions on which the international legal order is based will only work when the occupiers lose and the peoples of the world are protected from any occupation. With this war against Ukraine, against the international legal order, against our people, Russia has put itself in conditions where it is now only a matter of time before everything that was once seized and under Kremlin's control is actually liberated. Russia will show all potential aggressors of the world by its own example that an invasive terrorist war in our time is the path to the weakening and inevitable destruction of the one initiating such a war. The aggressor must lose. And so it will be. So that such wars do not happen again and peace is truly long-lasting. Nothing should be left to the invaders", – the president added.