Top U.S., Italian and German defense officials have been unable in talks thus far to surmount differences with their Russian counterparts over the deployment of U.S. missile defense systems in Europe, according to an Interfax report.
"In the past 10 days, we have discussed the missile defense problem with Mr. Maiziere, and with our partners from Italy, and, surely, with Mr. Hagel. No solution to this problem is discernable so far," Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said to reporters on Wednesday. He was referring to German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
The meetings were called in March, amid Russian concerns that a global missile defense system built on the European continent and along the Asian portion of the Pacific Rim would alter Russia's nuclear deterrence capabilities, the wire service reported. Little headway was expected to come from the talks, according to insiders.
"I have not felt that the Snowden problem has an effect on talks on missile defense," Antonov added, according to Interfax News Agency.
"Certainly, the Snowden problem was in the air," he said. "I am just convinced that Mr. Hagel is focused on pragmatic cooperation with Russia."
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.